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August Newsletter

Kia ora koutou katoa, and welcome to CPAG's July 2019 newsletter.

He kai tahu me kikini, he kai tahu me tīhore, mā te tamaiti te iho

In This Issue

CPAG Summit 2019: Whakamana Tāngata: Where to from here?
Annual General Meeting & Guest Speaker
CPAG Youth Seminar
Policy news
CPAG news update
CPAG blog update
Auckland Watercolor Society art show
Sign up as a regular CPAG donor
Other related news
Keeping up with CPAG Regional Networks
Join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

CPAG Summit 2019: Whakamana Tāngata: Where to from here? 18.11.2019

Child poverty, and the need to substantially reduce it, has been at the forefront of public policy since the election in 2017. Valuable recent developments include a newly minted Child Poverty Reduction Act, an in-depth report on welfare reform from the Welfare Expert Advisory Group (WEAG), the first official Government child poverty reduction targets, and a fresh range of statistics. Thus far, uptake of the extensive WEAG recommendations has been disappointing, with Government announcements providing little relief for the children living in the deepest poverty. The limited government response to the WEAG’s Whakamana Tāngata is frustrating, and the lack of public focus is perplexing. 

Join CPAG and friends, and hear from the experts speaking at our Summit about how we can make Aotearoa a better place for children and families - and how this Government can be convinced to make the bold steps to achieve the transformational impact it promised. Keep watch for detailed programme announcements!

Save the date: November 18, 2019.

Venue: Nordmeyer Lecture Theatre, University of Otago, Wellington

23 Mein St, Newtown, Wellington.

Annual General Meeting & Guest Speaker Laura O’Connell Rapira

We had the pleasure of hosting our members and supporters once again for CPAG's Annual General Meeting on 24 July 2019. The AGM was held at our regular venue, the St Columba Centre in Ponsonby. We reflected on CPAG‘s achievements and outputs for the year, as well as looking for better and more sustainable ways to move forward into the future.

The AGM was followed by a presentation from our guest Laura O'Connell Rapira, Director of ActionStation, who has supported CPAG’s mahi over the past few years. Laura gave a very insightful talk about ActionStation's model for people-powered change and values-based messaging. She shared lessons from the successful mental and sexual health funding campaigns which resulted in a $2.3b boost in Budget 2019 as well as reported on progress with Child Poverty Action Group and ActionStation's joint petition-based campaign, calling on the Government to transform our welfare system so children’s wellbeing is always at the centre. For more information about CPAG's achievements over the 2018-19 year, read our Annual Report online now.

CPAG Youth Seminar:  Whakamana Tāngata: A Youth Discussion

On 7 August CPAG Youth members hosted a korero at the University of Auckland Arts Campus to discuss the findings of, and government responses to, the Welfare Expert Advisory Group’s extensive 209-page report Whakamana Tāngata: Restoring Dignity to Social Security to New Zealand, that was released in May 2019. The theme of the korero was “What can we do, as young people, to bring Whakamana Tāngata back into focus?” The event consisted of a panel of experts including Latayvia Tualasea Tautai (member of WEAG) and Alan Johnson (Child Poverty Action Group) who unpacked the recommendations and discussed how young people can contribute to restoring dignity to our society. There was a great turnout at the event, with opportunities to catch up for a slice of pizza and network with other youth organisations. For more information about how you can get involved with our CPAG Youth network email:

Policy news

2 August - Progress on public housing

The Government reported that it had delivered an extra 2178 public houses this year which exceeded their original target of 1600. Although commendable, the bulk of additional places provided by community housing providers is likely to have been existing social housing stock that were brought into the Government’s income-related rent programme. Exactly how many of these additional 955 places are actually new houses has not been reported, so just how many additional social housing units have been created over the past year isn’t known. 

15 August - New research presses importance of housing WOF

A new study by the University of Otago has found hospital admissions could decrease if better housing was available. Study lead author, Dr. Tristram Ingham, a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Otago has said seeing children reinfected by damp and mould housing was a normal occurrence for some doctors. ''If all housing was free from damp and mould, the country could save just under $8 million a year solely in hospital costs'' Dr Ingham said.

29 August - Government announces free lunches for children in schools

From term one next year children will receive free lunches. Ardern announced the programme at the launch of the Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy. She said "Children themselves told us during the consultation on the strategy that going to school hungry was a barrier to their learning. That was heart-breaking to hear and this prototype starts to ensure children are fed and have the best chance to succeed.” The programme is being trialed in 30 schools  but is expected to extend to 120 children by 2021.

29 August - New Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy launched

The new Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy “sets out a shared understanding of what’s important for child and youth wellbeing, what Government is doing, and how others can help”. CPAG said the strategy was a really great start, but needed to be built upon, especially in the short-term to ensure that all children live in homes with enough income for all their needs, including for being able to participate meaningfully in society. 

4 September - Interest rate cap introduced in Credit Contracts and Consumer Finance Act 2003

After receiving much feedback and critique from the NGO sector, with wide disappointment over the failure to instate an interest rate cap for lenders in the Credit Contracts and Consumer Finance Legislation, Minister Kris Faafoi announced that there would be extra consumer protections added to the Credit Contracts and Consumer Finance Act 2003 (CCCFA). Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) and Ngā Tāngata Microfinance (NTM) jointly welcomed the new protections, and said that while the policy did not go far enough, considering there are exemptions for the broader fringe finance sector, which charges less than 50% interest, are not deemed to be ‘high’, it is still an improvement on current rules.

CPAG news update

24 July - Children fall further behind as transformational change is yet to come

6 August - Progress on public housing, but increased need outstrips the gains

12 August - Poverty to blame for escalating respiratory illness and unvaccinated children

15 August - New research supports CPAG’s call for a housing WOF and boosted incomes

29 August - Lunches in schools a win for children but burden of poverty still looms

4 September - Interest rate cap a momentous change – timed well with Money Week ahead

5 September - CPAG says new study supports vastly improved social services funding

6 September - CPAG mourns passing of Kathryn and calls for a more just welfare system

CPAG blog posts

24 July - A homeless man’s perspective on housing by Anonymous

With the lack of infrastructure to support a growing and ageing population, housing has become an exclusive, almost gold rush-like, game of Monopoly, and the richest have all the control. We haven't allocated resourcing in a way that has kept up with the need, there is a desperate lack within the state housing system and solutions seem to be coming at a snail's pace. We have even reduced the term 'housing' to something that's purely mechanical, when we should be referring to homes, and need.

Various obstacles exist that exacerbate the impacts of a lack of affordable housing solutions, particularly for families on low incomes.

Read the full blog here.

6 August - Define The Relationship: DTR Work and Income-Style by Renee Manella

Everyone, no matter how much they earn, should have the right to choose who they love and live with.  But if you're a single parent on income support in Aotearoa, choosing love is often a luxury you can't afford. Find love with a wealthy suitor, and Work and Income will cut your benefit on the assumption that your new beau will take over all your living costs because, you know, Pretty Woman. If there's no sugar daddy to take on the "burden" that the state is currently shouldering on your behalf (childcare is only an investment when it's provided privately), your new partner's income will still be counted as yours, and there goes your support. And if you meet someone just as restricted in their income as you and decide you want to live together, you'll go down to the WINZ couple rate. So, you choose - the money or the love? And if you know the answer to this, please explain how it's possible to factor what's best for the kids into that equation?

Read the full blog here.

18 September - Let's give kids what they want - their rights by Renee Manella

I asked my daughter what kind of sandwich she wanted. “Purple,” she replied. She was two then, but I have to admit that I’m not one of those people who romanticises the inherent wisdom of children. So I thought that when the Government consulted thousands of kids about what a “good life” is (as part of informing the Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy) the result would be Reddit-thread hilarity. After all, this is a cohort whose culinary seasonings include recently-sneezed with a bit of carpet fluff. Most of them can already do harder maths than me but some of the ones I know would happily fester for weeks under a pile of dirty socks and library books that somehow disappear the day they’re due, surviving on a vending-machine harvested diet. Turns out I was really wrong, and as my kids would say, “very judgy”. Because when New Zealand’s tamariki and rangatahi were consulted about wellbeing, they responded with the kind of clarity, insight and brutal honesty that my kids usually reserve for observations on my fashion sense.

Read the full blog here.

Auckland Watercolor Society art show

The Auckland Watercolour Society is holding a special FREE exhibition in September to support CPAG, and our very own Mike O'Brien (Associate Professor in Social Work and Education, and spokesperson on Social Security for CPAG) will be there to open the event. This will be a wonderful opportunity to see local art and learn more about child poverty, and what can be done in Aotearoa to turn it around. Head over to Takapuna Library on Thursday 26th September at 6pm with refreshments being served from 6.00pm to 6.30pm. Come and see the wonderful annual merit competition exhibition presented by the Auckland Watercolour Society. The exhibition runs from Monday 23 September to Friday 4 October.  All paintings are also for sale.

For more information visit the Takapuna Libraries website here.

Sign up as a CPAG Regular Donor 

If you would like to support our important ongoing work, you can become a regular donor or make a donation to ensure we can continue our research, education and advocacy work towards eliminating child poverty. 

Become a regular donor or make a donation now via our donation page

Become a regular donor or make a donation via Online banking

  • Account number: 38-9003-0066858-00
  • Reference: your name and REGDON for regular giving or your name and DONATION for a one off amount.

Become a regular donor or make a donation via Cheque - post to:

  • Child Poverty Action Group (Inc), PO Box 56 11, Wellesley St, Auckland 1141.

Please email  with your details for receipting purposes.

Other related news

ACYA Annual General Meeting on 30 September

This year ACYA (Action for Children and Youth Aotearoa) will be hosting their AGM in Auckland, at the Ellen Melville Centre from 5:30 on Monday 30 September.

As well as the usual AGM business including the election of Officers and the Steering Committee, ACYA will be sharing information from their Special General Meeting to change the organisations name to Children’s Rights Alliance Aotearoa New Zealand Incorporated.  Featured also will be information about the new Children’s Rights Committee (CRC) reporting cycle which was launched in Wellington at the Child Rights Seminar on 21 August 2019. Voting rights are limited to paid members, so if you’d like to vote please update your membership here:  

The AGM will be preceded by a CRC Reporting Workshop, 2.00-5.00pm, at the Ellen Melville Centre). For details on the workshop please email  

Speaker:  Veisinia Maka, a passionate youth advocate, and recent chair of the Auckland Youth Advisory Panel, will be speaking at the AGM and sharing her insights into being a youth advocate working to support change for and with young people across Auckland.  Veisinia’s knowledge and insights will be particularly valuable as we are committed to ensuring that children and young people will supported to contribute their voices to the CRC reporting process. 

AGM Details

Where: Ellen Melville Centre, 2 Freyberg Place, Auckland CBD

When: Monday 30 September, 5.30 – 7.00pm. Arrive from 5:00pm to start at 5.30pm

RSVP: Email – Jacqui Southey, by 26/09/2019 for catering purposes.

Keeping up with CPAG Regional Networks

Currently CPAG has networks in Whangarei, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin and Nelson. If you're interested in attending CPAG events in your local region please sign up to your closest network mailing list.

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.

Join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

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 well-being network.
We need your help to spread the word, and we care about what you think. So join us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @cpagnz. 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.

Ngā mihi nui