Kia ora koutou katoa, and welcome to Child Poverty Action Group New Zealand's regular round-up of our news and views.
In this issue
Fix Working For Families Campaign
Post Budget Breakfasts
Fundrasier Concert - 11 June
CPAG blog update
CPAG news update
CPAG on Waatea TV
Welfare Summit 2016
Fix Working For Families Campaign
We launched our campaign Fix Working for Families (#FWFF) on April 1. The press release received positive media feedback in the form of news articles online and in print as well as radio interviews. Ongoing action includes an open letter to the Government and further discussion by guest bloggers. We are planning more workshops and seminars, and will continue to promote ways in which New Zealand's policies can provide better outcomes for children in low-income families. Watch for more related news on Facebook.
The following is a roundup of media highlights:
Radio Waatea - CPAG's Michael Timmins interviewed by to Dale Husband on Te Wahanga Parakuihi (Breakfast with Dale)
April 7 The Star (Otago) - Action group calls for reform of tax credits (print)
How you can help?
Please like and share our Fix Working for Families facebook page
Signing an open letter to the Government in support of these policy asks
We are looking for stories from people who previously have received or currently receive any Working for Families (WFF) assistance. If you have received the In-Work tax credit we would love to hear about your experience; how well it worked or didn't work for you. We would like to use your experiences as examples to explain WFF. Name and details will be anonymous and kept confidential. Please send your stories to Jeni at or feel free to get in contact me for more info at (09) 302 5260
Post budget breakfasts
Please join us for our nationwide post budget breakfast events to
learn how the Government's 2016 budget affects children and young people, especially those in the most precarious social and economic situations .
CPAG will provide child-focused analysis and commentary on the budget being announced on May 26.
This year CPAG are holding post budget events in Whangarei ( lunch), Auckland, Wellington, Dunedin, Hamilton and Christchurch on May 27 and in Nelson on June 1 ( breakfasts).
Venues, times and speakers will be confirmed in the official invitations coming soon.
Fundraiser Concert Auckland - June 11
Following their wonderful concert last year, save the date for another CPAG Fundraiser Concert, a community event by musical friends, supported by APO with a special performance by concert master Andrew Beer. It is especially exciting that children from the Manukau Youth Orchestra will also be playing this time.
Date of Concert: Saturday, 11th June, 5pm
Place: Ponsonby Baptist Church on 43 Jervois Road, Cnr Seymour Street, opposite DIDA's, Ponsonby
Tickets: $20 pre-sale, $25 door sale
More information will be sent out in an upcoming invite.
CPAG Blog update
Latest posts for March & April.
Don't forget we have installed a commenting function on our blog. Please express your views and experiences with us. Do remember to keep everything child-friendly!
IRD's hypothetical human gets a hell of a raw deal, but this is how the system goes. Casual contracts and seasonal jobs mean families miss out on the crucial weekly $72.50 In-Work Tax Credit when they may need it the most. Guest blogger Janet McAllister of Metro Magazine tells how the system lets down these parents and others who are in dire need..
Deborah Morris-Travers of UNICEF New Zealandguest blogs for CPAG about how the changing political climate in New Zealand has affected low-income families for the worse. Deborah says that we have lost sight of the role of Government when it comes to the wellbeing of families, and it is time to define what a modern, inclusive Government looks like, with children at the heart of all policies.
Jess Berentson-Shaw of the Morgan Foundation discusses the current conditions of Working for Families (WFF) and how the tax credit scheme designed to help lift people out of poverty is not working at improving outcomes for New Zealand's worst-off children. Under current conditions, a large number of children miss out on a large portion of WFF and don't have enough to thrive.
CPAG news update
Latest media releases for March and April
The Government announced a 50 cent increase to the minimum wage from $14.75 per hour to $15.25 effective April 2016. Additionally Working for Families increased - for some families. CPAG welcome the changes but say that Working for Families increase does not properly account for inflation and the tax credit system is being eroded for families on minimum wage incomes.
CPAG is calling for this Government to rethink their rental housing strategy and instate mandatory a Warrant of Fitness (WoF) for all rental properties across New Zealand to save children's lives and lessen their illnesses. The Residential Tenancies Act Amendment Bill does not respond adequately to improving unfit housing for families.
The Working for Families (WFF) increases promised last year, effective April 1, 2016 are a small mercy. WFF does not adjust annually to Consumer Price Indexing (CPI), but only when cumulative inflation reaches 5%. This could mean no further increases until 2018 an inadequate response to the rising housing and living costs for low-income families.
31 March: Fix Working for Families Campaign
To coincide with the overdue increase in benefit rates and the base rate of the Working for Families In-Work Tax Credit, CPAG launched a campaign to raise public and political awareness of the fundamental deficiencies of the Working for Families tax credit scheme. Working for Families does not work for ALL families. We want Government to Fix Working for Families, so that it is FAIR for all children.
8 April: CYF steps up, what about the rest?
CPAG applauds the recommendations by the Expert Panel dedicated to the modernisation of CYF, proposing more immediate assistance, reducing incidents of vulnerability, particularly among Maori children and making the state responsible for the care of children until and even beyond their 18th birthdays. Government must ensure organisations are equipped financially, to deal with these tasks and must continue to focus on alleviating child poverty
CPAG says Auckland Action Against Poverty's Benefit Impact shows the welfare system is not meeting the needs of those who need it most. At worst it is even punitive. CPAG says that Working for Families must be better harnessed to support those on the lowest incomes and the use of relationship definitions to punish people must end.
18 April 2016: Better resourced schools, better outcomes for children
UNICEF's recently released Innocenti Report Card 13 is clear evidence that New Zealand is falling behind developed OECD and EU countries in terms of income equality and educational achievement. CPAG says Government needs to focus on better financial planning and resourcing for schools, and ensuring that children's needs are met in the home so they have the opportunities to thrive educationally.
CPAG on Waatea TV
This month CPAG has been featured on three episodes of Waatea TV's new current affairs programme Waatea 5th Estate, a discussion panel dedicated providing a wide a range of perspectives on issues affecting New Zealand.
On March 31 Dr Hirini Kaa, Professor Innes Asher and Associate Professor Susan St John appeared on the panel to discuss solutions to child poverty, including the Fix Working for Families campaign. This was an excellent opportunity to launch our campaign. Also on the panel were Green Party MP Jan Logie and Inside Child Poverty documentary maker Bryan Bruce.
On April 4, Associate Professor Susan St John appeared with Auckland Action Against Poverty's (AAAP) Sue Bradford and Mangere Budgeting Trust's Darryl Evans, discussing the inefficiencies of the welfare system and the stereotypes that harm beneficiaries.
On April 12, Associate Professor Mike O'Brien appeared on the panel to discuss the CYF reforms and the need for Government to adequately resource organisations providing support to CYF. Also on the show were Greens MP Jan Logie, Merepeka Raukawa-Tait - former CEO of Women's Refuge and Dr Russell Wills - Children's Commissioner.
Waatea 5th Estate is a nightly half hour show that is a partnership between high profile Māori broadcaster, former MP Willie Jackson and media presenter/left-wing blogger Martyn (Bomber) Bradbury. Waatea 5th Estate streams nightly Monday - Friday and is available to view on demand.
CPAG Summit 2016
The CPAG Summit - Welfare Fit for Families in a Changing Worldwas such a success in 2015, CPAG has decided to make it an annual event. The date for the summit is Friday, September 2 at the University of Auckland Business School. More details will be sent out over the next few months. We are looking forward to an exciting line-up of speakers who will offer solutions to repair the currently defective welfare system.