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Kia ora koutou katoa, and welcome to Child Poverty Action Group New Zealand's first newsletter of 2017. We have had a busy start with publications and submissions and there will be a lot more happening over the course of the year in the lead up to the 2017 general election. We look forward being able to achieve some positive impacts for the lives of many children.
In this issue:
- Submitting on the Oranga Tamariki Bill
- Submitting on Budget Policy Statement 2017
- Ports of Auckland Round the Bays
- E Kore Ano: Never Again - Human Rights Commission open letter
- Kidkind T-shirts fundraiser - summer range
- CPAG blog update
- CPAG news update
- Equality Network Annual Hui March 24
- Volunteer opportunity at CPAG - part-time accounts assistant role
Submitting on the Oranga Tamariki Bill
The legislation that will implement the Government's planned changes to Child, Youth and Family work is now in Parliament and submissions closed on March 3. The Bill is the second of two pieces of legislation on this issue, the first of which was passed into law in early December. CPAG submitted on this bill in 2016.
In this latest submission CPAG said that the well-being and best interests of the child must be the paramount consideration and considers that the removal of the whānau first clause is a direct opposition to the child's well-being. CPAG does not consider that the "further specific steps in relation to improving outcomes for Māori children" in Clause 12 of the Bill are meaningful provisions, given that many Māori are opposed to the removal of "whānau first," and the evidence is that taking children away from their whānau and cutting them off from their culture is overwhelmingly detrimental to them in the long term. A better way of ensuring more positive outcomes for Māori children would be to restore whānau first and acknowledge the role poverty plays in poor outcomes for children and take steps to address that. For more information, download the latest submission.
Submitting on the Budget Policy Statement 2017
In a recent submission to the Finance and Expenditure Committee on the
Budget Policy Statement 2017, Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) said that reducing the rate and depth of child poverty must be the first priority in the 2017 budget. CPAG recommends making housing of low-income or 'at risk' families a priority, and says that the Budget must measurably improve incomes for low-income families whether supported by benefits or low wages. General tax cuts however are not the answer, but improvements to Working for Families (WFF) tax credits could help many families significantly.
"WFF should be seen as the best and fairest way to offset taxes paid for the lowest income families with children," says Susan St John, economics spokesperson for CPAG. "NZ has a very flat income tax system and a high GST on everything. The burden of high GST lands heaviest upon our lowest income earners. They are also repaying students loans and face other clawbacks from very low income levels."
Ports of Auckland Round the Bays
CPAG members and supporters participated in the iconic Auckland Round the Bays fun run on Sunday March 6th. The Ports of Auckland Round the Bays is an annual event that brings together communities from far and wide to support the wonderful work of New Zealand charities. As well as joining in with one of Auckland's foremost public events, Round the Bays offers CPAG supporters the opportunity to help fundraise for us.
A big special thanks to Shirley and the team at Biggles Childcare who came along in support of CPAG and managed to raise $126 for our research this year.
E Kore Ano: Never Again
The Human Rights Commission are calling on the Prime Minister to initiate an independent inquiry into the abuse of people held in State care, in order to "identify the systemic issues that permitted this to occur and the broader impact of these events on our communities." CPAG supports and endorses the open letter which specifically calls for the Government to:
- Publicly apologise to those who were affected, including those who were abused, their families and whānau.
- Take other appropriate steps to acknowledge the harm that has been caused to the victims and to provide them with appropriate redress and rehabilitation; and
- Take action to ensure this never happens again.
CPAG agrees that the inquiry is indeed the "right thing to do". It is appalling that the victims of such grievous harm have never been provided a proper chance to recover from the treatment they suffered at the hands of state-provided caregivers, and that their abusers have never been held accountable for the crimes they committed. Visit www.neveragain.co.nz to sign the open letter
Kidkind T-shirts - Fundraising for CPAG!
Following the success of their wonderful range of kids t-shirts launched at the beginning of last year, Kidkind has a new summer range available online at kidkind.org.nz. Keep an eye out for more exciting products as Kidkind's founder Rachael has hinted there will be a range of sweatshirts coming in time for winter! Talented New Zealand artists have contributed designs, including Beck Wheeler, Otis Frizzell, Kate Hursthouse, Knucklebones Design Co., Guy Bellerby and more. Proceeds go to CPAG to help fund their work in research, education and advocacy.
CPAG Blog update
Latest blog posts December - February 2017
20 Dec - So, how are we making our investments? Blog by Associate Professor Mike O'Brien
Much was said and written about 'social investment' in 2016, and undoubtedly even more will be made of the idea this year, with an election coming up. But what is the basis of the investment decisions? How robust are the factors being used to justify and support the decisions?
31 Jan - The smoke and mirrors of benefit figures Guest blog by researcher Alicia Sudden
Despite the Ministry of Social Development applauding promising figures, a lack of information about what's happened to families now off benefits or why they're off the benefit is cause for concern. As evidenced by researcher Alicia Sudden, people may end up suffering the ill-effects of precarious, underpaid employment that negatively impacts upon the lives of their families.
22 Dec - Quality, inclusive Early Childhood Education in Aotearoa New Zealand: Under-funded and neglected Guest blog by Dr Bernadette Macartney (and new background paper)
Quality inclusive early childhood care and education (ECCE) benefits everybody immediately and into the long term. Low-quality ECCE has a negative effect on children's well-being, learning and success, hence the importance of getting it right and supporting access to a quality system and experience for every child and family.
CPAG News update
Latest Press releases January - March
Policy Watch - Minimum Wage increase
On the 24th of January the National Government has increased the minimum wage by 50 cents per hour, this year equating to a 3.3% increase (down slightly from last year's 3.4%).
CPAG said that while this initiative from the National Government is a commendable acknowledgement of the rising costs affecting our most needy, the increase is not an effective solution for reducing poverty in New Zealand. It falls short of being a fair wage, let alone being an adequate wage to sustain a family.
Equality Network Annual Hui March 24
The Equality Network is holding a National Hui 2017 on 24 March in Wellington at St Andrews Centre, 30 The Terrace to help shape the network's General Election strategy and make equality the priority issue for voters.
For more information or to RSVP email Rae Julian: by March 17.
CPAG latest resources online
Early childhood education and barriers to inclusivity: Working toward a fairer system (Dec 2016) A background paper prepared for Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) by Dr Bernadette Macartney
Children and the Living Wage (Feb 2017) A background paper prepared for Child Poverty Action Group by Associate Professor Susan St John and CPAG researcher Yun So
Volunteer opportunity at CPAG - Treasurer support
CPAG is looking to fill a volunteer part time accounts assistant role. The role requires a commitment of approximately 15 hours per month and will provide support to our current Treasurer. If you or anyone you know is interested in supporting CPAG by taking on this role, please email for more information.
Join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter!
For the latest news, blogs and policy updates related to child poverty, check out our Facebook page.
We are working hard at ensuring we highlight items of significance and relevance to child poverty in New Zealand, and take note of what is going on in other countries so that we can find out what works for children and what doesn't. We also aim to keep you up-to-date on local seminars that are useful and informative, as well as events that will be entertaining, and links to campaigns by other organisations in the child wellbeing network.
We need your help to spread the word, and we care about what you think. So join us on Facebook and Twitter, contribute to the discussion, like and share our posts if you find them meaningful. We value your feedback, and invite you to private message us or email us should you have a query or would like to share something with us. Our blog posts online also invite you to comment and share via social media.
With your help, we can change the narrative about poverty in Aotearoa New Zealand and make it a better place for whānau and tamariki, for generations to come.
Keeping up with CPAG Regional Networks
Currently CPAG has networks in Whangarei, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin and a new network in Nelson.
If you're interested in attending CPAG events in your local region please sign up to your closest network mailing list . We have a new mailing list for the Nelson Marlborough region for the Nelson group.
If your organisation or event is looking for support from a local CPAG on issues that relate to our kaupapa, please don't hesitate to get in touch.