75th Anniversary of the Social Security Act 1938

Child Poverty Action Group and Holy Trinity Cathedral held a joint celebration on Monday16th September  to draw attention to the significance of the Social Security Act that Michael Joseph Savage introduced 75 years ago.

The audience reflected the make-up of the communities of New Zealand; teenagers, social commentators, academics, politicians, urban Maori, the Pacific community, worried citizens and members of the parish who all came together to reflect on the heritage of the Michael Joseph Savage’s vision.


Opening Speech - Assoc Prof Mike O'Brien

Tonight’s gathering is a very significant one. 75 years ago Parliament passed the Social Security Act designed to provide some protection from poverty and a degree of financial security when circumstances were particularly difficult for individuals and families... 

Social Security and Decent Work - Prof Paul Dalziel

Economist Professor Paul Dalziel spoke of how the Savage Labour Government realised “there is no way of dealing with poverty except by getting to the people who are poorly paid”. He contrasted that approach with the trickle-down theories of recent governments that have lost sight of the importance for decent work to raise people’s wellbeing.

Women and the Welfare State - Assoc Prof Susan St John

Associate Professor Susan St John contrasted the inclusiveness of the previous Family Benefit and the success it had in addressing poverty with the current design of the current working for families tax credits.

A Maori Perspective on Welfare - Dr Mamari Stephens

Dr Mamari Stephens from the Victoria University of Wellington's Faculty of Law critically reviews welfare approaches to Maori in her speech entitled: Maori, social security and whanau ora: 75 years of ambivalance.


Media Releases

18 Sept: The Social Security Act 75 yrs on

13 Sept: CPAG celebrates the birth of the welfare state