The Latest: Early childhood education and barriers to inclusivity: Working toward a fairer system

Early childhood education and barriers to inclusivity: Working toward a fairer system (December 2016)
A background paper prepared for Child Poverty Action Group by Bernadette Macartney

Ensuring the rights and access of every child to a quality, inclusive early childhood care and education (ECCE) is an important challenge and opportunity for government, policy makers, teachers, families, and communities. This backgrounder considers pre-school children with disabilities and their access to and participation in ECCE in Aotearoa New Zealand. It highlights problems associated with their rights to equal participation in early childhood education alongside their non-disabled peers and looks at the troubling relationship between targeted funding for attendance and exclusion. 

OZ JUST DOES IT BETTER: A comparison between Australian and New Zealand family tax credits  (June 2016)
Dr Ben Spies-Butcher and Dr Adam Stebbing of Macquarie University

At first glance New Zealand and Australia have very similar family tax credit (tax benefit) systems. Both have a targeted system, which provides larger payments to those on the lowest incomes and with larger families, and provides very little if anything at all to those on high incomes. And in both cases the desire to target resources leads to complexity and perverse outcomes.

These similarities reflect a long history of borrowing from and informing each other’s approach. But, there are also important differences. For age pensions those differences reveal a universal, less complex and more efficient system in New Zealand. When it comes to families, it is almost the exact opposite. Australia’s system is more generous, less complex and more efficient. 

A policy of cynical neglect: The slow demise of the Accommodation Supplement (February 2016)
Alan Johnson 

In March 2010 The Treasury offered the Ministers of Finance and Social Development advice onincreasing the maximum rates paid through the Accommodation Supplement. These rates had notbeen adjusted since 2007 and were then based on rent levels in 2005. The estimated annual cost ofthe proposed adjustment was $60 million . Similar advice was offered to a Labour led government in 2008. Then as in 2010 the advice was rejected and the maximum subsidies remained at 2005 rentlevels – as they do still in 2016.

This paper documents changes in spending on and takeupof the Accommodation Supplement since2000 as well as changes in rents over the past decade. This documentation is offered in support of athesis that the failure of successive governments to adjust the maximum subsidies available underthe Accommodation Supplement is a policy of cynical neglect. In other words, this failure has been deliberate and done with some understanding of its impact on low-income households.