CPAG June Newsletter

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

Park up for Homes
ActionStation Campaign
Fix Working For Families Campaign
Nationwide Post Budget Breakfasts
End Child Poverty Fundraiser Concert 
CPAG blog update
CPAG news update
Save the Date - AGM
Report Launch Invite: Kathyrn's Story
City Mission - thank you
Paid Parental Leave Bill
Welfare Summit 2016

Park up for Homes

Everyone deserves a home and every child deserves a warm, dry and safe environment to grow up in. The housing situation for many children and families is a vital concern for CPAG, particularly those living in cars or garages for often long periods of time.

Park Up For Homes: Mangere on June 16 is a community-led demonstration of solidarity with those who are facing winter living in a car or garage, and is supported by CPAG. The event is aimed at raising awareness and encouraging Government to implement long-term and sustainable solutions to a growing crisis affecting many children in New Zealand.

People are encouraged to come along, kids in tow, as this will be a safe, alcohol-free, FAMILY-FRIENDLY event with music, a sausage sizzle and hot porridge at dawn.

To date, more than 1000 people in Auckland have RSVPed to the event on Facebook  which has inspired further events being held around the country. So far organisers in Wellington, Otara, Parnell and Waitakere City have registered interest, so keep an eye on the main Facebook page for an event in your area. Or organise one yourself! 

Funds raised through this event will go to Monte Cecilia Housing Trust, a South Auckland-based organisation that offers a range of housing services to support low-income families.

If your interested in organising a park up for homes in your community email  for more information.

Action Station Campaign 

On May 12 ActionStation launched a major online petition in collaboration with Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG), UNICEF New Zealand, NZ Council of Christian Social Services, and Tick for Kids partners, urging for the 2016 budget to break the cycle of poverty by putting the needs of children before corporate interests. This follows on from last year's petition which called on the Government to make real, positive change for our most vulnerable children by boosting the incomes of the poorest households in New Zealand. The 2015 petition's success, with more than 17,000 signatures, was proven when Government responded by increasing core benefit levels by $25 per week in the 2015 Budget.

We wish to thank all those who have signed the current petition which has so far gained almost 6000 signatures.  In light of the disappointing Budget announcements on May 26 2016 ActionStation will be taking the campaign into a secondary phase - we will update you with more news as the story unfolds!

Fix Working for Families campaign + survey

CPAG will be looking at holding more workshops and seminars as we move into the second phase of the campaign: Low-income working families.Meanwhile we 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.

 How you can help?

  •  FWFF public response survey - We would be grateful if you would take part in a short survey about your response to the Fix Working for Families campaign. Please click the link below to share your views. Start the survey now.
  • Please like and share our Fix Working for Families facebook page
  •  We are currently looking for stories from people who previously have or currently receive any Working for Families (WFF) assistance. If you have received the In-Work Tax Credit (IWTC) before we would love to hear about how well it did or didn't work for you. With your permission we would like to use your experiences as examples to explain WFF. Name and details will be anonymous and confidential.

    Please send your stories to or feel free to get in contact for more info.

    Nationwide Post Budget Breakfasts 27 May - 1 June

    Child Poverty Action Group hosted five Post Budget Breakfast events in six main centres on 27 May in Whangarei, Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin and Hamilton, and a further event was held in Nelson Tasman on 1 June, marking the first event held in the region. CPAG is indebted  to all the speakers and the hardworking volunteers and supporting organisations who contributed in each city and on whom CPAG depends. Each event did a remarkable job interpreting and presenting a cogent analysis of 2016 Budget.

    The  general feeling was that although CPAG had hoped that incomes, particularly the Working for Families tax credits, and housing would be addressed, in fact the  Budget offered mere scraps that don't go far enough, equating to a "Band-aid Budget". 

    The full budget review is available on our website. Listed below is a round-up of CPAG media mentions and post-budget interviews with CPAG spokespeople.

    7 June, Radio New Zealand Wide range of Nelson families struggling, agencies say
    2 June Nelson Mail Nelson boy came to school shoeless and limping, Child Poverty Action Group told
    28 May Northern Advocate Anger builds over Budget's child poverty inaction
    28 May Otago Daily Times 'Band-Aid' on child poverty
    27 May Dunedin Television Concern over budget shortcomings
    27 May NZ Doctor 'Boring' Budget lambasted at CPAG morning-after breakfast
    27 May Save our Schools NZ Poor Budget For Poor Families - Bryan Bruce
    27 May Northern Advocate $28m more to spend on local healthcare
    27 May The Standard Budget 2016 - F for Fail
    26 May Every Child Counts Budget 2016 not the game changer needed
    26 May NZ Herald Child poverty advocates see no relief in Budget
    26 May Every Child Counts 2016 Budget a missed opportunity - Tick for Kids

    On May 26, CPAG's Alan Johnson appeared on Waatea 5th Estate's Budget Special to discuss the budget and  the very real ways it fails our worst-off families.

    End Child Poverty Fundraiser Concert

    The End Child Poverty Fundraiser Concert on 11 June was a huge success. Feedback from concert patrons described the night as "up-lifting" with a "buzzing atmosphere" and "immense enjoyment" of the diverse music styles and traditions included in the programme The total proceeds & donations from the concert was $2,664 and will go towards helping to fund the CPAG 2016 Summit conference in September in Auckland. This will provide an opportunity for child poverty advocates around the country to come together to analyse and discuss the effectiveness of the "investment approach" planned by Government to deliver social services to vulnerable children. 

    CPAG would like to say a huge thank you to all the wonderful and talented musicians who performed. Special thanks goes to the classical music performers, guest performers Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra concertmaster Andrew Beer, Manukau Youth Jazz Orchestra led by Joseph Allan, the Chao Shan Ensemble and Oboist Noah Rudd. A special thanks to key organiser Brigitte Sistig, who has coordinated the planning of this concert over the past few months. Grateful thanks also to the sponsors of the evening for supporting this event including Ponsonby Baptist Church, Sierra café - Ponsonby, Ponsonby News, Bunnings Warehouse, Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, St. Stephen's Presbyterian Church, Kiwibank, La Cigale, Unitec Copy Centre, City Cake Company,  Dorothy Butler Children's Bookshop and The Stringed Instrument Company. 

    CPAG Blog update

    Latest posts for May & June

    26 April A few ladders and lots of snakes, Guest Blogger, Author Anne Else, for Fix Working for Families Campaign. 

    Anne talks about the weaknesses of the Working for Families for a solo mother with young children who has been left in hardship due to her husband's infidelity. As he was the main income provider, her Working for Families tax credits have been cut significantly.

    2 May Antiquated welfare system needs a reality check - Guest Blogger,  Journalist and Author Max Rashbrooke, for Fix Working for Families Campaign

    Max shares his view that the welfare system and its meagre support for sole parents and low-earning families by the exclusive In-Work tax credit (IWTC) may have worked in times past when job security was a tangible aspect of New Zealand living, but it doesn't work now. A deeper divide between the rich and the poor is wrought daily.

    6 May Home comforts a civil right for Swedish renters Guest Blogger, Kiwi student living in Sweden, and CPAG supporter, Chantelle Murley.

    Chantelle relives her surprise when she discovered that renting student housing in Swedish's harsh winters meant cosy toes and rapidly air-dried washing, in contrast to what her Kiwi peers were experiencing. This is largely due to Sweden's rental Warrant of Fitness regulating basic household provisions and ensuring no tenant is left out in the cold.

    12 May - Playing the blame game does nothing to fix child poverty - Guest Blogger Lizzie Marvelly for Fix Working for Families Campaign (reposted courtesy of
    LIzzie talks about the negligence by society for holding parents solely to blame for not being able to adequately feed, clothe or shelter their children.

    18 May - Natalie's Story - I work, I work hard - Guest Blogger, Natalie For Fix Working for Families Campaign. 

    Natalie shares her tale of hard work as a sole mother on the benefit who does what she can not only for her children but for her community, lamenting society's failure to recognise her contribution. Despite her hard work she is still not entitled to receive the $72.50 of the In-Work Tax Credit.

    20 May - A little help goes a long way. Except for this time.CPAG's Housing Spokesperson Alan Johnson

    Government's $41 million Band-aid for emergency housing merely scratches the surface of what's needed. Funding for existing beds for around 800 homeless people for a short time helps get rough sleepers off the streets so the country can sleep better at night having the homeless out of sight. But it doesn't solve the fact that 2188 people (not including their families) have been on the list for social housing, and it's anyone's guess for how long.

    CPAG news update

    Latest media releases for May & June

     8 June John, Bronagh and Max receive invite to #Parkupforhomes: Mangere

    On Wednesday last week,Parkupforhomes, in collaboration with CPAG, officially invited MPs to join in support for the homeless at the Park up for homes: Mangere event. Almost 1000 people have RSVPed to "park up" in their cars for the night to raise awareness for those who are doing it for months on end.

    8 June National's policy statement offers pittance to the homeless at Te Puea Marae

    National's recently released Policy Statement on housing amounted to little more than a further jawboning of Auckland City Council for apparently allowing section prices to skyrocket to a point where even the housing needs of the sons and daughters of those in our leafy suburbs have become a problem of crisis proportions.

     26 May Not the New Zealand we want - CPAG

    Despite John Key's stated commitment to improving the outcomes for our most vulnerable children, they were clearly at the lower end of the priority list when Budget 2016 was decided.

     22 May Band-aids won't do it for the 2016 Budget

    CPAG says that Government must build effective long-term strategies to reverse the housing crisis and boost incomes, starting with the 2016 budget. Band-aid solutions won't cut it

     18 May 'Amazing numbers' on the priority waiting list for social housing

    John Key said he would be 'amazed' if WINZ couldn't help the homeless to be housed. Paula Bennett's contradiction to John Key's comments provide evidence to the contrary. New Zealand needs a better response to the lack of supply of affordable homes.

     17 May Musicians band together to End Child Poverty

    A background about this unique variety concert run by CPAG supporters dedicated to raise funds for CPAG's research, education and advocacy work in 2016.

    12 May Petition calls for children to take first priority

    ActionStation launched a major online petition in collaboration with Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG), UNICEF New Zealand, NZ Council of Christian Social Services, and Tick for Kids partners, urging for the 2016 budget to  break the cycle of child poverty in New Zealand.

    Invitation: Auckland Report Launch Kathryn's Story - 1 July 2016

    Child Poverty Action Group would like to invite you to attend the launch of our latest report, Kathryn's Story. Kathryn's Story is a powerful account of the detrimental and unjustified treatment of one woman by the justice and welfare systems. The result is an unfair and ongoing persecution for trying to provide the best care for her children. Her charges are based on the welfare system's outdated definition of "relationship" and highlight the long-term suffering she and her children have experienced.

    Event information 

    Date: 1st July
    Time: 10.30am - 11.30am
    Speakers: Susan St John, Leonie Morris, Catriona MacLennan and Frances Joychild QC
    Venue: Auckland Women's Centre, 4 Warnock Street, Grey Lynn

    Event information here and RSVP here by 30 June. 

    Save the date- Annual General Meeting 27th July

    Please save the date for CPAG's AGM on the 27th July. We'll be reporting back on the past year and looking forward to the next with the election of our Management Committee for the 2016-2017 year.  CPAG is very excited to announce that our speaker for the AGM this year will be the new Children's Commissioner Judge  Andrew Becroft.  His experience in youth justice and seeing the consequences of poverty and inequality on children mean that he will be an ideal advocate for New Zealand's most vulnerable children.

    When: Wednesday 27th July
    6.30pm: AGM
    7.30pm: Andrew Becroft - New Children's Commissioner (former Principal Youth Court Judge)
    Where: St Columba Centre, 40 Vermont St, Ponsonby, Auckland

     Invitations with more information and a chance to reserve your place will be sent out in the next couple of weeks.

    **** Memberships **** Sign up as a member or renew your membership in June/July. Unsure if you are a member or if you membership needs renewal, send us an email 

    **** Become a Regular donor ****  Regular donations are the backbone of charitable organisations. As an independent organisation, CPAG relies only on donations and grants to support our ongoing  work. We don't accept funds from government or gambling trusts. We would love you to become a regular donor and support our work. 

    Auckland City Mission - Thank you

    Child Poverty Action Group would acknowledge and welcome the new City Missoner Chris Farrelly who arrived into this role on the 1st June. We wish him the best as he settles into to his new role.  CPAG was sad to hear of the departure of Dame Diane Robertson in Dec 2015 as she has always contributed a strong voice to our concerns and we hope we can continue the same supportive relationship with the City Mission in the future. We would also like to kindly thank ACM for continuing to  donate an office space for CPAG to use as our HQ. ACM do valuable work in the community and see the harsh reality of the unraveling welfare system. 

    Paid Parental Leave Amendment Bill

    Child Poverty Action Group previously submitted on the Parental Leave and Employment Protection (6 Months' Paid Leave) Amendment Bill in November 2015 which is now being debated in Parliament. The third reading which will see whether or not the new bill is passed into law will be happening soon. Keep watch for CPAG's media release and for further updates in the next CPAG newsletter.

    CPAG Summit 2016

    The CPAG Summit - Welfare Fit for Families in a Changing World was 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.