Media release – Need for action urgent – many can’t wait another year

Media release
Community Networks Aotearoa

3 May 2019

Need for action urgent – many can’t wait another year

Community Networks Aotearoa welcomes the release of the Whakamana Tāngata: Restoring Dignity to Social Security in New Zealand report. It presents a blueprint for resetting our welfare system so that everyone in this country has what they need to live with dignity and participate in their community.

“Our welfare system has been failing people for some time. This is clear when we’re dealing with 254,000 children living in poverty.

“We really need the Government to step up and implement the report in full. For too long we’ve seen successive governments tinker around the edges of welfare support, but meaningful change requires transformation across a range of areas, as laid out in the Whakamana Tāngata: Restoring Dignity to Social Security in New Zealand report” says Ros Rice, Community Networks Aotearoa Chief Executive.

“We are disappointed that only three recommendations are being picked up now, and that they will not come into effect for another year”.

The report highlights restoring trust in the system for Maori and Pacific Island people plus 42 recommendations around a range of issues. “We will be taking our time reading this report so that we are clear about all the recommendations and how they will affect the lives of our most vulnerable people” Ms Rice says.

“We’re hearing more and more that the need for change is urgent, people are really struggling, and many services are struggling to deal with increasing demand. We need to see major change now, it can’t wait any longer. The Wellbeing Budget to be released later this month must commit the resources to begin the transformation required. People needing support cannot wait another year.

“There is a lot to do to implement the findings of the report, however across Aotearoa our communities are rich with important insights, experience and knowledge about what can work. We hope in implementing the recommendations the Government creates space for meaningful conversations with community about what can be done, bringing everyone to the table” says Ros.

Community Networks Aotearoa is an umbrella organisation for local community networks. Our membership includes not-for-profit and voluntary social service organisations all over the country. Our goal is to empower and strengthen the community sector by supporting community networks across Aotearoa.

Photo: Jason Pratt