From the very beginning, Christ designed for His disciples to run toward need–not away from it–to engage culture, not to ignore it.

David Platt, pastor, author, founder of Radical

Tēnā koe!

Welcome to the NZCCSS November Policy Watch.

Recent NZCCSS submissions

Minimum Wage Review
The Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety is required to review the minimum wage rates by 31 December each year.

In our letter submission, NZCCSS advocated for the minimum wage to be indexed to inflation or another type of evidence-based calculation that takes account of the actual cost of living. This would put it on a par with the calculation of the Living Wage.  We also advocated for a policy safeguard to ensure that any increase to the minimum wage would not impact on government transfers intended to support low income families, such as the accommodation supplement and working for families.

 Electricity Industry Amendment Bill
The cost, administration and distribution of electricity deeply impacts the people that the membership of NZCCSS serve.

In our submission to this Bill, we supported the proposal for the establishment of an advocacy agency for small electricity consumers, the costs of which would be recovered through a levy on industry participations. We also supported an additional objective for the Electricity Authority, to protect the interests of household and small business consumers in their dealings with industry participations.

Older Workers Employment Action Plan
The goal of the Older Workers Employment Action Plan is to ensure that all older workers (aged 50+) can access work that meets their needs.

In our submission on the Plan, we supported the need for tailored employment related services to support the 50 + age and emphasised the need for the plan to include the diversity of experiences of older workers. This diversity is across population groups, educational qualifications, skills and competencies, and household income and wealth.

Justice Sector Long-term Insights Briefing
Long-term Insights Briefings (LTIB) are a government sector planning tool that share insights on the trends, risks and opportunities that affect, or may affect, Aotearoa New Zealand. The briefings also include analysis and policy options for addressing potential issues.

The Justice Sector Long-term Insights Briefing consultation sought views on the subject of imprisonment. In our submission, we expressed concerns around young people and imprisonment, socio-economic drivers of imprisonment, and supported indigenous justice processes.

Long-term implications of our ageing population and housing
Another LTIB, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) sought feedback on its proposal to explore the long-term implications of our ageing population on the future of housing and urban development in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Housing is also a long-term focus for NZCSS, particularly in relation to those impacted by poverty – including older people. In our submission, we commended the requirement for long-term policy planning, and in particular, attention to the future of housing and urban development for an aging population. We recommended long-term planning incorporate:

  • Aging in place
  • Impacts of poverty
  • Rental accommodations
  • Honouring te Tiriti o Waitangi
  • Ensuring consideration of Pacifica elders

Consultation on the 2023 New Zealand Disability Survey
The 2023 Disability Survey will be the first national disability survey since 2013. The Department of Statistics sought submissions on the survey’s content.

In our submission, we noted that 10 years between surveys is too long and that the question basis used in the survey set the disability threshold too high. We contended that a low threshold using proxies are inappropriate and breach human rights conventions, and that age-stages should align to Government standards. We also maintained that wellbeing should be included and expanded, particularly across tamariki, spirituality and Te Ao Māori, and the inclusion of the whole person.

See all NZCCSS submissions on our website here.

Mind The Gap!

Mind the Gap is campaigning for an Aotearoa New Zealand where everyone is paid fairly for their work; where pay discrimination based on ethnicity, gender or ability no longer exists.

Despite the introduction of the Equal Pay Act 49 years ago, unfair pay persists across genders, for Māori, for Pacific peoples, disability communities and other ethnicities in our country.

International evidence shows that when we know what the pay gaps are, we can get to work on closing them. Mind the Gap invites businesses to join the campaign in saying KNOW your Pay Gaps and YES to reporting them – by becoming a part of New Zealand’s first public pay gap registry.

To sign up to report on your pay gaps – or for assistance in figuring out what they are, in the first instance – visit mindthegap.nz or email kiaora@mindthegap.nz.

The Pay Gap Reporting Registry will be launched in 2022.

Check out more information and resources about pay gaps here. https://www.mindthegap.nz/resources

Snapshot of income inadequacy and food insecurity

Food insecurity in Aotearoa is rooted in inequalities – it is complex and interconnected with other systemic issues. It is not a consequence of COVID-19 lockdowns (although pandemic consequences have further inflated increased demands on community food distributors, supporting those most in need), nor is it because of a food deficit.

Kore Hiakai Zero Hunger Collective has released ‘Ka Mākona’ – a report about income adequacy in Aotearoa New Zealand. The report aims to provide a snapshot of the current reality for those who experience food insecurity, and to create a better understanding of the root causes.

Read the report here:

 

Funding to overcome homelessness

The Local Innovation and Partnership Fund was set up in 2020 as one of 18 actions set out in the Aotearoa Homelessness Action Plan. The Fund was designed to support Māori providers, hapū, iwi, community organisations, not for profit organisations and wider community partners to work together on innovative solutions to homelessness in their area.

Around $4 million in grants were made in the first round of the Fund. Some $6 million is available in round two – $100,000 per initiative for small projects, and up to $1 million per initiative for medium-to-large projects.

Applications to the Fund can be made up to 28 February 2022 on the HUD website

 

Selwyn Foundation to increase focus on loneliness and isolation in communities

Following a strategic review, NZCCSS member organisation Selwyn Foundation is increasing focus on addressing loneliness and isolation of older people living in communities. To fund this work, the Foundation announced that it is transferring half of its retirement village capacity to Metlifecare.

The Foundation intends to significantly increase its charitable giving – to a target of $100 million – to focus on the areas of loneliness and social isolation, hardship support, affordable housing and spirituality, while upholding Tikanga Māori, Tikanga Pasifika and Tikanga Pakeha principles.

Read the Selwyn Foundation news release here

Support for people isolating at home

As Aotearoa New Zealand moves to the traffic light system and restrictions are eased, the number of people contracting COVID-19 is anticipated to rise. Minister for Social Development and Employment Carmel Sepuloni has announced $204.1m will be made available to support individuals and whānau who contract COVID-19 and need to isolate at home. Responses will be region-specific and locally led, with MSD’s regions working with partners, including iwi/Māori and local providers, to deliver support and provide funding.

Read more here:

New COVID-19 traffic light system and business tool

The new COVID-19 traffic light system comes into effect at 11.50pm on Thursday 2 December. Workers covered by the My Vaccine Pass mandate need to have their first dose by 3 December and be fully vaccinated by 17 January 2022.

The government is developing a simplified tool to help clarify what work should be covered by vaccinated workers. It is designed to help employers assess when it is reasonable to require vaccination for other work.

Keep a watch for the tool’s release here

We welcome your feedback on POLICY WATCH and other publications produced by the Council, email: rosemary@nzccss.org.nz

 

Ngā mihi nui
From all of us in the team at NZCCSS