June newsletter

Kia ora, and welcome to Child Poverty Action Group New Zealand's regular round-up of our news and views. 

In this issue

Post Budget Breakfasts
ActionStation Campaign
Briefing papers for a child-focused budget
CPAG Blog  update
CPAG News update
Survey on welfare and benefits
AGM save the date

For a formatted version click here

Post Budget Breakfasts 

Child Poverty Action Group hosted five post Budget breakfasts in five main centres on 22 May in Whangarei, Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin. A special thank you to all the speakers and the wonderful volunteers and supporting organisations who worked behind the scenes in each city. Each breakfast did an remarkable job interpreting and presenting the outcome of the 2015 Budget and the policies that have an effect on the wellbeing of children and the general health of communities. The $25 increase to beneficiaries in this year's Budget signals an important change in the approach to child poverty in New Zealand, as it recognises that the best way to help children in poverty is to give more income to low income families. The long term effectiveness of the changes will depend on the development of a comprehensive plan to build on the changes signaled in the Budget. For more information about CPAG's summary analysis, speaker presentations and media coverage surrounding the 2015 budget, head over to our event page.The full budget review will be posted later this month.  

Action Station campaign - End Child Poverty

Many thanks to everyone who signed and shared the ActionStation petition to End Child Poverty in NZ. The campaign achieved its goal to put child poverty at the centre of political debate during the lead up to the Budget, and clearly showed that New Zealanders want to see more done to reduce the current levels of child poverty in NZ.  CPAG was incredibly encouraged to see thousands of ActionStation members, and others in the wider community, get involved in the campaign. More than 15,000 people signed the petition which was handed over to the government on 20th May, two days before the budget.

Working with ActionStation and our other partners  -NZ Council of Christian Social Services, the Inequality Network , UNICEF and Tick for Kids.It was a fantastic opportunity to reach a wide audience about the serious issue of child poverty. This is the first time we have been involved in a campaign like this and it was exciting to see how it brought many voices together in a tangible and constructive way to create change. This combined effort has been a great lesson in the power of social media to create people powered change.

Briefing Papers for a child focused budget

The AUT Briefing Papers website ran a timely series on child poverty in the lead up to the 2015 Budget. Briefing Papers promotes informed discussion and debate in the public interest. The series brought together experts from across New Zealand to explore the issue of child poverty and put forward policy solutions to address the systemic causes that underpin this serious problem.  An important role of our universities and tertiary institutions is to look beyond the prevailing attitudes on complex issues like child poverty, and instead bring the power of rigorous, evidence-based research and thinking to the debate. While there are no simple solutions to eliminating poverty in New Zealand, a wide body of research over many years has shown there are ways to make a big difference to the majority of children living in poverty.

 Child Poverty Action Group prepared four papers for the Briefing Papers series on child poverty:

Innes Asher - More income is required to improve the health of poor children 
Susan St John - Step change for children: Fix Working for Families
Michael O'Brien - Prevention: the best way to address child poverty
Alan Johnson - An overview of NZ's housing

CPAG Blog update
Latest posts for April and May

We now have commenting available on our blog, so we encourage you to express your views and experiences with us. But please remember to keep everything child-friendly!

Why on earth on are scholarship fees being increased? John O'Neill

John O'Neill talks about why it is morally wrong to be charging families for NCEA and Scholarship examination fees.

Social housing: waiting list jeopardy for most needy. Innes Asher & Frank Hogan

A look into what is happening to those children waiting for social housing.

The disappearing data story. Gerard Cotterell

Gerard talks about the unjustified loss of MSD data which was widely used by many academics, students, the public and other government agencies

Can you  pick which one of these young people may be homeless? Rebekah Sherriff

Guest blogger Rebekah from Lifewise talks about many of the misconceptions about homelessness, and how it is a growing problem for young people in NZ.

CPAG news update
Latest media releases for April and May

Why are we sending women with children to prison? CPAG welcomes the latest report from the Families Commission "Improving outcomes for children with a parent in prison". When mothers as principal caregivers of young children are sent to jail the consequences on children can be devastating. This report is a timely reminder of the needs of this neglected group. CPAG supports the reports' recommendation that a review of effective intervention strategies is required.  "But we should also be examining why we are sending mothers with children to prison in the first place" says Hannah Anderson. Hannah is a co-author of a recent CPAG report "The complexities of 'relationship' in the welfare system and the consequences for children".

New Zealand must address major underlying causes of respiratory disease - poverty and poor housing  The high burden of respiratory disease in NZ provides further compelling evidence for the need to address underlying income and housing issues for the poorest.  A new report funded by The Asthma foundation, The impact of respiratory disease in New Zealand: 2014, released on Tuesday 5th May, shows New Zealand is failing to improve high levels of respiratory diseases like bronchiolitis, asthma, and bronchiectasis (chronic long term lung damage) , and in some cases levels are rising, despite a significant drop in smoking. Respiratory diseases are strongly linked with poverty and deprivation and have a disproportionate impact on Maori and Pacific people. 

Survey on Welfare and Benefits

Alicia Sudden, a Victoria University masters student is looking for research participants for a survey, who have been on a social welfare benefit and come off this benefit either temporarily or permanently since July 2013. The aim of the research is to capture the voices of as many people as possible who have recently come off the benefit, and gain a greater understanding of their outcomes and well-being.The more people who participate, the more strength the survey will have to contribute to real change to the welfare system. By filling out the survey you go in to the draw to win one of five $50 grocery vouchers. Please share.

Click for the survey HERE

Annual General Meeting - Auckland - Save the date

Please join us on Tuesday 28 July for our Annual General Meeting. We'll be reporting back on the past year and looking forward to the next with the election of our Management Committee for the 2015-2016 year. Our guest speaker will be Dr Simon Denny, a New Zealand expert on teenagers' health. Simon has published extensively on youth health issues in New Zealand and is currently Chair of the Adolescent Health Research Group and Society of Youth Health Professionals Aotearoa New Zealand. We hope you can join us for his talk on the impact of poverty on teenagers.

Invites and RSVP information will be sent out soon!.   
6.30pm-7.30pm AGM
7.30-8.15pm Simon Denny
Location: St Columba Centre, Vermont Street, Ponsonby