Transition Times

Transition Times February 2020

DATE: February 2020
The UN Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing, Leilani Farha, is visiting New Zealand from 10-19 February, and there are several opportunities for you to engage with her during the visit on matters relevant to your work.

Ms Farha will assess positive developments in housing in New Zealand as well as challenges and gaps in the protection and promotion of the right to adequate housing. She will produce a summary of her findings at the end of her visit or shortly after, followed by a full report in due course.

Ms Farha will be meeting with a range of government agencies, as well as non-government organisations, and human rights and housing experts. Community Housing Aotearoa has been working with the Human Rights Commission, Te Matapihi and others to develop a schedule of visits that will provide Ms Farha with access to on-the-ground insights into New Zealand’s housing situation.

There are two particular areas of her work that Ms Farha will be seeking to engage on. The first is the extent to which houses in New Zealand are being used simply as a financial product rather than as great homes fostering wellbeing in communities. The second is to do with how a rights-based national housing strategy has worked in other countries and what lessons New Zealand might learn in order to ensure all New Zealanders are well-housed.

The visit is a real opportunity to show the UN Special Rapporteur what New Zealand’s housing crisis looks like for people seeking decent affordable homes, the contribution we are making to turning this situation around, and what else needs to happen.

We are working with a range of service and housing providers to offer Ms Farha the opportunity to hear directly from residents and persons facing homelessness during the afternoon of 11 February in Wellington, on the afternoon of Friday 14 February in Auckland, on Saturday 15 February in Kaitaia, and Monday 17 February in Christchurch.

Also included in the current itinerary are a small number of RSVP events including a film screening in Wellington on 11 February, and an in-depth seminar on Housing Finance and Wellbeing in Auckland on 13 February.

Any queries, please contact Brennan Rigby at

If you would like to attend any of the following events, please confirm your interest by emailing

Wellington: 10 -12 February
From 10 – 12 February Ms Farha will be in Wellington. Morning sessions involve engagement with Government. On Monday afternoon Ms Farha’s key engagements include a series of meetings with various Commissioners and independent Crown entities.

Tuesday 11 February
Tuesday afternoon includes a series of site visits around Wellington with a focus on meeting families and individuals facing housing risks and risks to their rights to housing.

Public event: Screening of award winning documentary: The Push (Sweden, 2019, 92 minutes), featuring the work of the Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing around the globe on the issue of financialization of housing (Director: Fredrik Gertten)
7pm, 11 February – Victoria University Wellington Lecture Hall

Ms Farha will introduce the film, with hosted Q and A
The event is free.  Please contact to ensure a seat.

Wednesday 12 February
Wednesday afternoon includes a series of meetings on tenancy rights issues, and human rights in New Zealand broadly. This programme will also include a briefing on current housing related research.

Auckland: 13 and 14 February
Thursday 13 February includes a marae visit and a Housing Finance and Wellbeing seminar as follows.

Thursday 13 February – 3pm – University of Auckland Lecture Hall (room tbc)
Seminar:  Housing Finance and Wellbeing
The seminar will surface the connection between housing finance and wellbeing, in the context of growing recognition of the risks in the use of housing as a financial tool rather than as a home. It will help focus on the choices we have financing our housing stock to ensure wellbeing. The event is free.

For more information on this event please contact to ensure a seat.

Auckland: Friday 14 February 3:30 to 5:30 pm (location TBC)
Meeting with civil society/advocacy organisations
In this session community, family and housing advocates will have a chance to speak with Ms Farha about their work and their concerns in the context of human rights.

Places are limited. Please contact to express your interest.

Kaitaia: 15 February
Site visit to Kaitaia focused on meeting individuals and families facing housing risks and risks to their rights to housing.

Christchurch: Monday 17 February
Ms Farha is engaging a significant series of site visits in Christchurch. Please contact if you are interested in being involved.

In Christchuch the itinerary includes:

  • Site visits – Inner city red zone tour with former and current residents, and site visits in various red zone areas of Christchuch focused on meeting with individuals and families facing or having faced housing risk.
  • Meeting with civil society/service organisations – places are limited. Please contact to express your interest.
  • Site visit – Housing First homelessness services focused on meeting with individuals and families

In addition, meetings with the Mayors of Wellington, Auckland, and Christchurch are being sought.

Transition Times



Back in October 2016 it came to C.N.A’s notice that some new requirements from MSD were appearing in the contracts of some service providers.  These clauses required providers to report client level data in order to receive funding for the services they provide. There was a very strong reaction to this as many organisations, working with highly vulnerable people felt that many of their clients would not seek help if a criteria for accessing service involved them agreeing to their individual identifiable details being reported to MSD.

ComVoices ( a Wellington based network of national community and voluntary organisations) had some serious conversations on what this meant not only for contracts and ethics, but also how this changed the basic role of NGOs with their clients and Government.

An issues paper was produced on the 9th of December 2016 followed by the formation of a ComVoices sub-committee to try and talk to MSD about the impact of this issue.

The sub-committee which comprised representatives of 7-8 national organisations worked very hard at pulling together broad opinions and discussing the problems following an MSD seminar in Wellington with other organisations and with MSD staff.  A meeting was also held with the Privacy Commissioner who had commissioned a report following complaints to his office. The report from the Privacy Commissioner was released on 6 April 2017.  This report included four recommendations for MSD to consider about better ways of working to obtain the information required.

On March 16 2017, after the release of the Privacy Commissioner’s report, ComVoices wrote a letter to four Ministers of the Crown suggesting a collaborative way of working together to gain access toappropriate data which would enable them to find out the information we were told repeatedly was necessary for good social investment.  We received limited response to our request.

The Community and Voluntary Sector in the meantime had become increasingly agitated about this contract requirement, and national media were running frequent stories about the data collection requirements.  Contracts were clearly expecting service delivery organisations to start saving data immediately for upload to the government website on July 1 2017.

Then 6th April 2017, the media was full of a story about a privacy breach at the Ministry.  It put a halt to the plans for data collection while an investigation into the breach occurred.  This led to an urgent debate in the house where most of the opposition parties spoke strongly against the identification of clients and the sharing of sensitive date being required by MSD.

The ComVoices sub-committee was contacted, and finally had a meeting with Minister Tolley where calm heads and co-design were the main discussions.  It was a relief to have a conversation that took on-board sector considerations.

Following these occurrences, the review on the data breach claimed Deputy Chief Executive Murray Edridge, who stepped down after taking responsibility for staff mistakes.

A new plan which included working with the sector was proposed and printed on the MSD site on 24 May 2017.   Since then some service providers have received notices regarding changed plans for their 1 July data collection, and the entire subject is to be revisited by a team working with Minister Adams.

There is more work to be done yet and the final result of this is likely to be dependent on the upcoming election.  The Community and Voluntary sector is not adverse to data collection, in fact, we want to know ourselves how well we are doing for our clients.  So we hope that we can work constructively with everyone to ensure that collection of data is of value and does not incur privacy invasion or unintended adverse consequences.

Ros Rice
Community Networks Aotearoa

More information is available at these places.

Transition Times


Community Investment Strategy

Minister Tolley has publicly released the Community Investment Strategy today.

The strategy provides you with clarity about the priorities for funding of social services for vulnerable New Zealanders for the next three years. It also explains how the Ministry of Social Development will manage this investment in communities.

In addition, implementing this strategy will ensure purchased social services are targeted at the right people and the right communities, based on evidence of what works, so that together we can make the biggest difference for the people that need our support the most.

Learn more about the strategy
More information is available on the MSD website.
Community Investment will also be meeting with current providers from mid-June. Information about these provider events will be available shortly.

Please email any questions or comments about the Community Investment Strategy

Transition Times



Effective from 1 April 2015, there will be new reporting standards applied to all registered charities.  These standards are to bring consistency and transparency to charities’ financial reporting.

There are four tiers that apply to different sizes of organisation, so smaller organisations have more simplified requirements.  This Transition Times is about Tiers 3 and 4.

  • You will not need to use the new requirements until you have completed a full financial year after 1 April 15. eg: if your financial year end is 30 June 15 you won’t prepare financial statements for CS until 30 June 16.
  • Charities Services has assured CNA that they realise the first couple of years will be a period of learning for Charities and the focus of CS will be helping Charities to understand and help with compliance to the new standards.
  • The non-financial reporting portion of your Charities Accountability requirement means it is important for you to log what you do, how much you do of it, and any results that you can gather.  If you don’t already do this, we suggest you begin collating this information now.
  • We suggest that you go to a Charities Workshop being held around the country. Find out about them here.
    Charities Services Workshops for Tiers 3 and 4 : 2015

Double check the Charities Services Website to check which tier you are in; to check your reporting dates, and anything else you need to know.

As well as the new reporting standards, there are also some new audit and review requirements that become effective from 1 April 2015, which result from recent changes to the Charities Act.

These new requirements only apply to charities with expenditure over $500,000 a year.  However, even though Charities with expenditure of less than $500,000  are not required by law to have an audit or review, they may be required by their rules or constitution or as a condition of receiving a grant to have their financial statements audited or reviewed.
Be aware of these other possible requirements.

More information is available at these places.

Photo: bruceandrobyn