The Latest

November newsletter

Kia ora koutou katoa, and welcome to CPAG's November 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?
  • CPAG and ActionStation media briefing: All the experts agree
  • New paper series: Aotearoa, land of the long wide bare cupboard
  • Submission: Retirement income review
  • Policy news
  • CPAG news update
  • CPAG blog update
  • Other related news

Register now to attend CPAG's 2019 Summit: Whakamana Tāngata: Where to from here?

Wellington, Monday, 18 November 2018

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.

Register now!

Download the programme

Date: November 18, 2019.
Venue: Nordmeyer Lecture Theatre, University of Otago, Wellington, 23 Mein St, Newtown, Wellington.
For more info email:

CPAG and ActionStation media briefing: The experts can all agree

On 23 September CPAG and ActionStation, as part of a larger coalition of organisations (including FinCap, The Workshop, and New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services), plus many others who endorse our call to action, jointly hosted a breakfast media briefing from 8am - 9am, in Morningside, Auckland, to release our triaged asks for the Government to act on in relation to the Welfare Expert Advisory Group's report Whakamana Tāngata: Restoring Dignity to Social Security in New Zealand. Following the event, organisers and speakers, as well as our wonderful supporters and media people walked to Hon. Jacinda Ardern's electorate office at 568 New North Road to deliver a petition signed by over 5000 people calling on the Government to make substantial changes to the welfare system so that people can live dignified lives, and so children are able to thrive. The event was well attended by journalists and supporters. Below are some of the articles and op-eds that have come out of the press conference and petition delivery:

TVNZ Breakfast | Government urged to adopt welfare recommendations

Radio New Zealand | Petition calls for urgent changes to welfare system

Radio New Zealand | Government not moving fast enough on welfare changes, says advocates

Stuff | Can't budget your way out of poverty 

Stuff | Calls for urgent changes to broken welfare system

Radio New Zealand | 'I'm not receiving enough income to cover my basic needs' - beneficiary

New Zealand Herald Premium | Hannah McGowan: My disease is not my fault, so why am I being punished?

Download the full briefing paper here! (8 pages)

New paper series from CPAG:

Aotearoa, land of the long wide bare cupboard: Food insecurity in New Zealand

CPAG has launched a series of papers to highlight the problems children face living in food insecure households. Food insecurity occurs when people do not have enough money for regular meals, or for the right kind of food. Undernutrition, deficiencies that impede growth and brain development, obesity and diabetes are some of the health concerns that arise from poor diets associated with poverty. "Currently, although families are trying their best, many are so under-resourced they can't provide their kids with the food they need. Parents - particularly mothers - often skip meals to make sure their children get enough. They need more support than they are currently getting," said Georgie Craw, CPAG's executive officer. The first three papers in the series, which is entitled Aotearoa, land of the long wide bare cupboard, are available for download now. They look at some of the causes and consequences as well as discuss some potential solutions. Further papers will be released in December and early 2020.

Submission on the Retirement Income Review

CPAG submitted to the Retirement Income Review on October 31, drawing on the background paper on fiscal sustainability (from St John and Dale, 2019), questioning the wisdom of continuing contributions to the New Zealand Super Fund (NZSF) and the failure to count NZSF assets in the calculations of net debt. While CPAG strongly supports the proposal for the New Zealand Super Grant (NZSG) to be paid to all superannuitants, and a separate tax scale to apply for other gross income, the current system is perpetuating inequality. At the moment, families and other taxpayers are paying taxes to not only fund current pensions, but also to help fund their own state pension via the contributions to the New Zealand Super Fund (NZSF). These contributions would be of greater value invested in the working age population and their children. Download the full submission here

Policy news

24 September | Minister of Education announced that the decile system would be scrapped by 2021.  

In a press release from the Beehive, Minister Hipkins stated that  by 2021 the current decile system to determine school funding will be replaced by 2021 or 2022 with an Equity Index "that better aligns equity funding to actual levels of socio-economic disadvantage in our schools". CPAG said the announcement regarding the eventual dismantling of the decile system should be greeted with cautious optimism.  

3 October | Government announced changes to "level electricity playing field for consumers". 

Minister Megan Woods said in a press release that consumers will benefit from changes to the electricity market that will see a level playing field for smaller independent retailers, greater transparency over the big power companies, increased competition in the market and more support for consumers to shop around for better deals. Changes included requiring big power companies to sell electricity at affordable rates into the wholesale market to level the playing field for smaller and independent retailers. CPAG responded in a press release that the "super profits enjoyed by the 'gentailers' show that much more can be done to ensure cost and payment structures do not unfairly disadvantage low-income households."

24 October | Government announces CHP units for homeless being opened in Tauranga.

The Government announced in a press release that six 2-bedroom quality units were being opened at 878 Cameron Road by Minister Faafoi and Accessible Properties, a local Community Housing Provider (CHP)

30 October | National release social welfare policy discussion document.

The National Government released a series of background papers discussing its proposals for welfare reform. CPAG responded in a press release that the proposal to cut gang members' benefits perpetuate damaging and discriminatory stereotypes about both welfare recipients and gangs. CPAG agreed with the Auckland Action Against Poverty statement that the National Party's proposal will do nothing to reduce poverty or violence.

7 November | MSD releases new Household Incomes Report for 2019 (2017-18 year) 

Keep a watch out for CPAG analysis to come

CPAG News Update

Latest press releases from September - November 2019

23 September | Children and their parents need a 'Yes' from Government

23 September | Beneficiaries to PM: the welfare system needs to urgently change - start tomorrow by ending harmful relationship rules

25 September | CPAG says substantially more funding must accompany new system to replace deciles

26 September | Call for widespread implementation of the Healthy homes initiative

30 September | CPAG says relationship facilitation guidelines are out-dated and may be harmful for children

7 October | CPAG says report is promising but exploitative electricity pricing must go

17 October | CPAG and Nga Tangata Microfinance join call for debt forgiveness

31 October | Political football should not be played with poverty and family welfare

7 November | New paper series: Aotearoa, land of the long wide bare cupboard

CPAG Blog Update

Latest blog posts October - November

18 September | Let's give kids what they want - their rights | 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.

24 October | Children are taonga, handle their dreams with aroha | Jeni Cartwright

My teammates and I recently spent time in a classroom of children at a decile 2 school, talking about hopes and dreams, and what's needed to achieve them. The resounding response from these 10-, 11-, and 12-year-old students was aroha, healthy food, and good support. They wanted to have their voices heard, and their needs acknowledged, and the bricks to be in place so that they had good foundations for the future. Read the full blog here.

Other related news for your interest

16 October | Auckland City Mission | Food insecurity research released

Over the last few years, the demand for food at the Auckland City Mission has continually and dramatically increased. Food insecurity is about more than hunger. Hunger is a physiological experience caused by a lack of food - a person can feel hungry if they are running late and skip breakfast. Food insecurity, which is also called food poverty, is not having enough appropriate food. To find out more follow this link. 

31 October | The Salvation Army | Discussion paper released- The housing crisis facing Pasifika people in Aotearoa. This paper from Ronji Tanielu (Social Policy and Parliamentary Unit) looks at the housing challenges Pacific people face based on the housing continuum which ranges from homelessness through to home ownership. The full Paper can be accessed here

1 November | ActionStation | Demand action on NZ's poverty crisis | An open letter tool has been launched by our friends at ActionStation allowing people to easily find out more about their local MP and their position on the barriers faced by children, and to send them an email telling them why it's important they take action. Please share the Facebook post among your networks.

1 December (closing date) | Backbone Survey | Backbone has been contracted by The Ministry of Social Development (MSD) to find out from women who have experienced family violence (including in dating relationships and relationships where there are no children involved) what longer term support and services women and their children need in New Zealand to help them recover and rebuild their lives. This Backbone survey is one piece of work that MSD is undertaking to gather whānau voices to help design the Whānau Resilience work programme. You can read more about it on the MSD website. The survey will be open for four weeks and closes on 1 December 2019 . Women do not need to have had involvement with the Family Court, or reached out to services in the past in order to take part. Backbone would love to hear from as many women in New Zealand as possible. Please share the survey link with women you know who might be interested. If you have any questions please email

Events, workshops and training opportunties in our community

13 November | Children's Rights Alliance Aotearoa (Formerly ACYA) | Making Children's Rights Real in Aotearoa New Zealand workshop 12.00 - 1:30 pm, by Zoom video conferencer. Facilitators Andrea Jamision, Jen Braithwaite and Jacqui Southey. Register in advance here.

By participating in the online workshop, participants will, among other things: 

  • Learn about the new simplified CRC reporting process, developing the List of Issues Report, the timeline and how to contribute and participate
  • Have the opportunity to share what they see as the key children's rights issues in Aotearoa today
  • Help identify data sources and evidence to inform the Children's Rights Alliance alternative and thematic reports.
  • Connect with the Children's Rights Alliance and others committed to advancing children's rights in Aotearoa 

CRAANZ have asked that we please share this invitation widely amongst our netwtorks. For more information contact Jacqui Southey.

25 November | Human Right's Commision launch of in-work poverty research. 11 - 12:30 pm, Human Rights Commission office, Level 7, AIG Building, Auckland. A light lunch will be provided. Register for the event here and feel free to forward the invite to others. 

5 December | Victoria University of Wellington School of Government | 12:30 - 1:30pm |Third seminar in the Children, Families and the State series | The series examines the historical, current, and future role of the State, around families' and children's involvement in the child welfare system. If you would like to review what has already been covered in this excellent, thought provoking series you can access the presentation slides and a recording of the first seminar here, and the second seminar here. Seminar Three will bring together key stakeholders to discuss what a more just and supportive system that incorporates the obligations to Te Tiriti o Waitangi would look like. This discussion will highlight the ways multiple key stakeholders can work together to balance the need to identify and protect children from the worst consequences of abuse and neglect while making sure tamariki are not unnecessarily separated from whānau. The panel format will involve brief comments from the distinguished panelists before a Q&A discussion. Audience participation is encouraged. Venue: Old Government Buildings Lecture Theatre 1 (behind the main building) RSVP: