New narratives for discussing child poverty in New Zealand

Jess Berenston-Shaw

There is great enthusiasm these days for using research and science to inform policy across the political spectrum. However, this has not always translated into how we talk about the solutions that are most likely to influence key policy actors. I have written a new report, Telling a new story

Food for Thought – Free of charge school lunches

Pii-Tuulia Nikula

Few would disagree with the contention that all children deserve healthy, nutritious meals before, during, and after their school days, yet there is plenty of evidence showing how food insecurity and malnourishment are prevalent issues among many New Zealand school children. However, there is less consensus on whether the government

Restructuring individuals: The use of sanctions in New Zealand’s welfare system

Alicia Sudden

According to Kingfisher (1999), the welfare system in New Zealand is increasingly oriented around the need to restructure individuals, rather than systems. This has become more visible recently through the use of financial sanctions. A new sanctions regime was implemented in July 2013 alongside the overhaul of main benefit types,

Reflections on the Child Youth and Family Review: On evidence and prevention

Emily Keddell

  This Briefing Paper critiques two aspects of the recent CYFS Review process of child protection services. A wider analysis of the process is in my longer report, an extract from which has also been published as a Briefing Paper here. The prevention policies proposed by the CYF Review are

Schooling in an era of economic inequality

Liz Gordon

In mid-2015 I published an article revealing the effects of 25 years of ‘Tomorrow’s Schools’ on the schooling system in New Zealand. It showed that, as a result of families choosing ‘up’, socially and economically, the schools serving New Zealand’s poorest communities were now, on average, 2.5 times smaller than

The Precariat and the Future of Work

Guy Standing

For many foreign observers, New Zealand seems like an oasis, while the rest of the world economy plunges from crisis to crisis. But no country can escape the forces of globalisation, the ongoing technological revolution and the slow fuse impact of several decades of neo-liberal policies that have transformed the

An Egalitarian Society?

Brian Easton

Once upon a time New Zealand identified itself as egalitarian. Phrases like ‘a classless society’, ‘jack’s as good as his master; ‘a working man’s democracy’ were bandied around, often without much critical thought. A distinction was made between ‘egalitarian’ and ‘equalitarian’. Certainly the aim was that New Zealanders were equal

Rental Standards

Philippa Howden-Chapman

Every year people die prematurely in winter in New Zealand, a phenomenon unheard of in the coldest parts of Europe and North America, where houses are built and heated to protect people from winter cold. People are more likely to die in winter in New Zealand if they live in

Where’s The Plan?

Alison Cadman

I remember the event but can’t quite remember where it took place. I remember the atmosphere – a sense of relief and excitement that at last there was a plan to address New Zealand’s increasing housing problems. And I remember that the then Minister of Housing was at the event,

The Budget 2015 ‘Child Hardship’ Package

Michael Fletcher

The Government deserves credit for increasing financial assistance to many families in its ‘child hardship package’. Those families will welcome the extra cash in hand. However, the package is rather less generous than it first appears. It will provide little for many low-income families, including many in the greatest hardship

Prevention: The Best Way To Address Child Poverty

Mike O'Brien

The government has signalled that its main approach to child poverty is to concentrate on a small subset of poor children who live in ‘complex’ families with multiple needs. By contrast, the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) believes that a comprehensive preventative approach is needed, not one that concentrates on

Housing New Zealand’s Children

Alan Johnson

Access to adequate housing is at the heart of ensuring a healthy environment in which children can thrive. Other briefings have talked about health, incomes and child protection issues. Each of these, along with educational outcomes, are influenced positively if housing for families is stable, secure, and of good quality.

Poverty Of Spirit – A Pacific View

Tagaloatele Peggy Fairbairn-Dunlop

Child -poverty is hard to define, measure or address. This has not been helped by the ‘siloed’ focus of many discussions, which has resulted in less attention to the relationship between influencing factors (and which should be factored into interventions), while the ‘one size fits all’ approach has highlighted quite

Legislating To Reduce Child Poverty

Office of the Children’s Commissioner and John Hancock

Reproduced by kind permission of the Office of the Children’s Commissioner. Around 285,000 New Zealand children (27%) live in households where family income falls below the poverty linei, a figure that has remained relatively flat since 2009. By contrast, in the early-to-mid 1980s the level of child poverty was below 15%, before

A Step Change For Children: Fix Working For Families.

Susan St.John

New Zealand now has two classes of low income children; the worthy who can be supported to the full extent of social security legislation, and the unworthy who are consigned to remain in poverty. This shameful disparity is between the treatment of children in families who can find paid work

More Income Is Required To Improve The Health Of Poor Children

Innes Asher

The future is what we choose to develop as well as what we choose to ignore. It is in our decisions and actions, our values and relationships, our language and mind-sets. There is no accidental future for our society. Professor Linda Tuhiwai Smith     Many New Zealanders are concerned

Children: The Nation’s Greatest Asset

Ian Shirley

As we approach the annual Budget in May it is an appropriate time to review our public policy priorities and especially investments that need to be made to advance this nation’s greatest asset, its children. Writing at the end of the 1950’s J.B. Condliffe suggested that “a baby born in

Doing Something About Low Incomes: Wages And Benefits

Bill Rosenberg

The Government says it is putting poverty on the agenda. That’s good, but what does it mean in practice? The signs are worrying. Announcements so far show it will be limited tightly to those in the harshest poverty, cover only housing, transport, childcare costs and loan-shark debt, and rather than

Boarding Houses – Breaking the Cycle

David Zussman

Once again the spotlight falls on the never ending merry-go-round of families living in boarding houses. It’s not just boarding houses – there are families living in caravan parks, overcrowded houses and garages and some are even sleeping overnight in cars and tents. Back in 2008, boarding houses were described

Electricity Supply and Poverty in New Zealand

Geoff Bertram

The electricity industry in New Zealand provides a good case study of how a neoliberal ideological agenda plays out when harnessed to the attitudes and practice of modern big business. At the beginning of the neoliberal period, the industry was a publicly-owned, democratically accountable provider of an essential public service.

New Zealand’s Wages System is Buggered

Bill Rosenberg

Wages and salaries (henceforth just ‘wages’) have a number of functions: providing income to households, distributing the income generated by the economy, providing incentives. None of them are working properly. Providing income to households The most important function of wages is that they are the primary method of providing income

The Cost of Doing Nothing

Elaine Rush

Gabriela Mistral, a Chilean Poet who received the Nobel prize in literature in 1945, wrote: “Many things we need can wait. The child cannot. Now is the time his bones are formed, his mind developed. To him we cannot say tomorrow, his name is today” We cannot wait for more

What should be done about Child Poverty?

Susan St.John

Budget 2014 was presented in an environment of economic recovery and growing optimism. A more buoyant economy provides an opportunity to repair the damage to the social fabric suffered during the recession by policy measures aimed at reducing child poverty and inequality. What is deeply troubling is that there no