Social Policy

The challenges ahead for the new government

Ian Shirley

As the 2017 general election graphically illustrated New Zealand society has reached a turning point in its economic, social and political development. Throughout the election campaign the voting population seemed uncertain which way to go and this uncertainty was reflected in a series of opinion polls and in a range
 

The Future of New Zealand Capitalism?

Brian Easton

‘Far too many New Zealanders have come to view today’s capitalism, not as their friend, but as their foe. And they are not all wrong. That is why we believe that capitalism must regain its responsible – its human face.’ Winston Peters.   Announcing that he was going with Labour,
 

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,
 

It will take courage to clean up the welfare mess

Ian Shirley

It took courage for Metiria Turei to challenge the welfare mess that has emerged over the past four decades whilst at the same time owning up to the way in which she exploited the welfare system to provide for her daughter. She no doubt anticipated the reaction her declaration would
 

A New Zealand Community Living Standards Review?

Simon Chapple

New Zealand’s system of income redistribution is complex. It includes accident compensation, New Zealand Superannuation, minimum wages, tax thresholds, tax credits for families (such as Working for Families and the in-work tax credit), working age welfare benefits, and the Accommodation Supplement. The system lacks coherence. The myriad of income supports
 

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
 

What is a good outcome? Social investment and child abuse prevention

Emily Keddell

Child protection services are in a process of ongoing reform, including the Vulnerable Child Reforms of 2011-2014 and, more recently, the creation of the new Ministry for Vulnerable Children | Oranga Tamariki in April 2017. The collective name for the review process is the CYF (Child, Youth & Family) Review.
 

And so this is Christmas…

Alicia Sudden

Christmas time comes with many certainties in New Zealand. There won’t be any snow. Every mall becomes home to a Santa Claus. There will be a variety of fake and real Christmas trees in workplaces and homes, decorated with lights that take too long to untangle and tinsel that has
 

The plight of the beneficiary

Alicia Sudden

To be a beneficiary in New Zealand is to be innately separate from the rest of the population. It comes with connotations about who you are as a person, your motivations, your worth. This is the result of decades of homogenising and dehumanising discourses. And these have very real impacts
 

Recent Trends in Public Spending

Brian Easton

Despite the public’s desire for more government spending there has been little increase in the aggregate level of government spending relative to GDP over the last 20 years. There was a slight rise immediately after the GFC, because GDP stagnated. Government spending as a percent of GDP is now lower
 

Spend and Tax

Brian Easton

As a general rule, New Zealanders want more public spending. Surveys (such as the 2014 Election Survey) show consistent support for increases in spending, particularly in the areas of health, education, housing, law enforcement, public transport and the environment (in that descending order) as well as favouring reduced income inequality.
 

Public Views on Privatising Social Policy

Louise Humpage

There has been increasing privatisation of New Zealand’s social policy sector since the National government was elected in 2008. Social bonds will see private investors fund not-for-profit organisations to deliver services, with bonuses paid to investors if agreed outcome results are achieved. Social housing reforms encourage community housing providers to
 

Bottom Line for Mental Health Services

Dita De Boni

In the United States, about $2 billion each year is shaved off community mental healthcare funding and funnelled straight into the pockets of the private sector, one way or another. That’s the model New Zealand wants to emulate, as revealed by Government with a tiny taster in the shape of
 

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
 

For Richer, For Poorer

Dame Anne Salmond

The three Briefing Papers posted today were written by Professor Anne Salmond of the University of Auckland in response to what she describes as the Slippery Slope of Democracy in New Zealand. The first paper was written in the wake of Dirty Politics, the book released by Nicky Hager that
 

The Purpose of Social Policy

Ian Shirley

Social policy in New Zealand from European settlement to the present day has fluctuated between two dominant traditions. The first can be traced back to 1547 when the city of London imposed a compulsory tax on the rich in order to alleviate poverty. It was an imported model based on