News

Network News – May 2019

Network News – May 2019

Network News May 2019

Community Networks Aotearoa is an umbrella organisation for local community networks. Our goal is to empower and strengthen the community sector by supporting community networks across Aotearoa.

We:

  • Provide advice and support to members
  • Connect community networks nationally
  • Use our collective voice to advocate for policy change and raise awareness of issues affecting the community sector

To find out more visit our website here.

This newsletter covers topical issues in the community sector. In this newsletter:

  • Update from CNA Executive Officer, Ros Rice
  • Guest column – Child Poverty Action Group
  • Meet the members: Pukete Neighbourhood House – Te Whare Takiwa o Pukete
  • Notice of CNA AGM
  • Charities Act review
  • IRD – update on changes
  • CNA and NZCCSS joint conference 27th and 28th Aug 2019
  • On Air
  • To blog, or not to blog
  • Government reforms/consultations
  • Campaigns / programmes / events
  • Special offer for members

We encourage you to send this newsletter our through your networks

Update from CNA Executive Officer, Ros Rice

Tēnā Koutou Katoa

Well the year is truly up and running now with lots happening. I know with so much going on it can be hard to get to everything you need to do, but if you haven’t already I strongly encourage you to submit on the Charities Act Review, you can find information on the review here. We will put our submission on our website shortly, and you are welcome to use the information in the submission to help you with your own submission, or you could write a letter in support of our submission. This review could have a significant impact on all charities so it’s really important as many people as possible feed into the review.

As many of you will know, the Welfare Expert Advisory Group report was made public recently. We thought the report did a great job, and commend the working group for their work. This month’s guest column is from CPAG, who provide commentary on the report. The CNA media release on the report can be found here.

I try and meet regularly with MPs to convey messages from our members and raise issues affecting the community sector. My latest meeting was with Peeni Henare, Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector. I raised a number of issues, including the need for any review of COGs to have community input, and the importance of COGs funding for many in the community and voluntary sector. I also raised the issue that many in the sector are struggling, with limited funding and increasing demand. With the loss of Family and Community Services several years ago (a specific agency within government focused on the community sector), the sector now struggles to have its voice heard across government. While community is interwoven in all government does, having this separate entity helped to convey the important work of the sector and secure funding at budget time.

We will be watching with interest Budget 2019, and will have special commentary prepared by economist Dr Ganesh Nana on the budget and its impact on the community sector – watch this space!

Also a reminder that CNA and the NZ Council of Christian Social Services are holding our joint conference on the 27th and 28th August 2019 in Wellington. Everyone is welcome. The theme this year is Tātou tātou e (all of us together): The value of relationships in building wellbeing. To find out more or register, click here

And lastly, as always, remember we’re here to help. If you’re a member of CNA and have a problem or issue, or just need some information, please don’t hesitate to contact me on (04) 472 3364 or eo@communitynetworksaotearoa.org.nz. 

Guest column: Child Poverty Action Group: Commentary on the Welfare Expert Advisory Group Report 

Child Poverty Action Group welcomes the release of the long-anticipated report from the Welfare Expert Advisory Group (WEAG): Whakamana Tāngata: Restoring Dignity to Social Security in New Zealand.

The report shows the depth of the analysis that the group has undertaken in its consideration of improving support for people in Aotearoa who, in times of stress, illness and precarious incomes, rely on the welfare system for their families’ wellbeing needs.

It’s a remarkable endeavour with some really encouraging recommendations, particularly in terms of the report’s emphasis on dignity, income adequacy and assistance to provide each individual the opportunity to participate fully in society. CPAG is particularly pleased to note a vast cultural and philosophical shift around the purpose and intent of welfare, away from the current punitive regime that has become the tragic norm, and toward one that is based on compassion, kindness and empathy. The focus on meeting individual needs, rather than simply ticking boxes will go a long way to minimise the stresses we know that people who regularly interact with Work and Income (WINZ) experience.

CPAG prepared 17 practical recommendations toward having Welfare Fit for Families in the 21st century, and is pleased to note that the WEAG report has considered many of the problems CPAG has highlighted.

Among the WEAG recommendations are solutions to make the system less punitive, especially for families where there are dependent children, as well as solutions for improving income adequacy, through increasing payments, thresholds and reducing abatements, as well as indexation. CPAG welcomes these recommendations, which require urgent implementation.

While CPAG welcomes the majority of the report, we are disappointed that the report’s projected impacts on the numbers of children in poverty are less than the ambitious goal of eradicating child poverty altogether. The report projects that it will reduce the number of children currently living in households with less than 50% of before housing costs (BHC) median equivalised income, by 45,000 (or 40%).

CPAG remains very concerned about the impacts for those who are living with incomes far beneath the very lowest poverty line, who are likely to be supported by a main benefit. CPAG has also taken a different approach to the WEAG group on the Accommodation Supplement that will be outlined in an upcoming report from CPAG. The report’s focus on housing is commendable, as it reinforces the negative impact that the current lack of affordable housing options has on the family income, but there are deep inadequacies within the Accommodation Supplement that among other problems, feed market price increases.

The Minister of Social Development, Hon. Carmel Sepuloni expressed that work towards making improvements to the welfare system had been started since in her Government’s first term with changes within WINZ offices, and that a three-to- five-year plan would be developed for implementation of many further changes. Minister Sepuloni’s pre-Budget announcements signaled a start, but were unremarkable, and did not signal the courageous, transformational change that CPAG and many others had hoped for from a “Wellbeing Budget”. For example, the increase in earned income thresholds for benefit abatement rates, especially as it is implemented over a long period of time, is minimal and not nearly close to being adequate. We can’t see how this makes it any easier for people on main benefits to obtain sufficient work to help them into better positions, or improve their incomes in the short term.

The paltly expenditure announced by the Government – ‘investment’ the Government calls it – of $286.8 million over the next four years, is only a scratch on what is needed for major reductions in child poverty, which the Government claims is their aim. $5.2 billion dollars a year is needed to fix our welfare system so that it is adequate and fit for purpose, catching it up three decades of falling behind costs and entrenching the poverty that we see today. A government serious about making a real difference in the lives of children, must make a serious investment today, to save money in the future. It must create a fairer economy and bolster future generations so that they have the means to be able to participate fully in society. The so-called investment announced by the Government is by no means transformational change.

We believe it’s important to keep the pressure on Government to make changes that are truly transformational and urgently needed. Join us in our campaign for a welfare system that works. Help CPAG and ActionStation tell the Government we want a welfare system which takes seriously the real needs of people, one that is truly compassionate and kind and cares about the dignity and mana of the people of Aotearoa when they are experiencing truly tough times. Sign our petition now supporting CPAG’s recommendations – which are reflected in the Welfare Expert Advisory Group’s report – calling for a welfare system that has wellbeing at it’s heart.

From time to time CNA invites individuals to contribute to our newsletter as a guest columnist. The thoughts, ideas and opinions shared by guest columnists are not necessarily those of CNA. 

Meet the members: Pukete Neighbourhood House – Te Whare Takiwa o Pukete

Pukete Neighbourhood House – Te Whare Takiwa o Pukete provides a range of classes, services, facilities, programmes and events to help our local community. We are part of a vibrant, dynamic community and work to ensure everyone in the community feels they belong and are connected – both to each other and services they may need. We make sure Pukete House has something for everyone. 

Our services are diverse, ranging from free legal advice, a vege co-op, playgroups, child care, craft groups, an indoor sports arena and a family support worker to hire services. Our classes include Tai Chi and scone Wednesday.

To help build a picture of what we do, a total of 120,003 people were served by Pukete House last year. 147 people in the community gave their time to support the House and their community. 650 people attended a class or event and nearly 26,000 children attended a before and after school, or holiday, programme.

Pukete Neighbourhood House was started 34 years ago in response to a University study that showed Pukete had no place for people to meet and socialize. This was important, because we know it’s the relationships and connections between people that make a significant difference to individual and community wellbeing.

The Council provided a small house and a committee was formed to run what is now known as the Pukete Neighbourhood House. Early on the House was run on a very ad hoc basis, really only when someone wanted to run a course etc.

As time went on members of the committee took turns opening the House from 10am to 2pm on a couple of days a week. It soon became apparent that if the House was to grow and prosper there was going to have to be someone there on a regular basis. Funding was applied for and a manager appointed. This gave much more permanence and the whole organisation began to grow.

Over time Pukete House has continued to grow. We are recognised as one of the most successful community house’s in the Waikato, and we use our experience to help other Houses grow.

To find out more click here.

Notice of Community Networks Aotearoa AGM 

The Community Networks Aotearoa (CNA) AGM will be held on Wednesday 28th August 8am, at Westpac Stadium 105 Waterloo Quay, Pipitea, Wellington.

The AGM is an important part of our organisation’s democracy so we encourage you to come along, especially if you’re a member.

The AGM is being held at the joint CNA and NZ Council of Christian Social Services conference. We hope you are able to stay for the full conference, but if you can only stay for the AGM you are not required to register for the conference to attend the AGM (there is no cost to attend the AGM).

If you are intending to attend the conference, you can register for the conference and AGM together here.

If you wish to attend the AGM only, you can register by emailing info@communitynetworksaotearoa.org.nz

Call for AGM motions / remits 

We would like to formally call for any motions or remits, these must be received by Monday 15th July 2019, 5pm. Please note there will be no elections for the Executive Committee at the 2019 AGM, as per the constitution elections are held every two years. The next election will be held at the 2020 AGM.

Important – Charities Act Review 

The Charities Act 2005 is being reviewed to ensure that it is effective and fit for purpose. The consultation period has been extended to 31 May. More information on the review can be found here.

We have some useful information on our website, including blogs and research papers going over key issues, click here.

IRD – update on changes 

On 26 April, the latest changes as part of IRD’s programme to make tax more straightforward came into effect. You can read an update on what to expect over the coming months here.

Save the date! 2019 CNA and NZ Council of Christian Social Services joint conference 27th and 28th August 2019

CNA and the NZ Council of Christian Social Services are holding our joint conference on the 27th and 28th August 2019 in Wellington. Everyone is welcome. The theme this year is Tātou tātou e (all of us together): The value of relationships in building wellbeing. You can find out more and register by clicking here.

The conference will explore questions such as:

  • How can community organisations build meaningful, effective relationships with the people they serve and with each other?
  • How will the government’s Wellbeing Budget affect communities and community organisations?
  • How can spirituality enhance the wellbeing of older people?

We have an amazing line of speakers, including Professor Cynthia (Cindy) Kiro (Ngapuhi, Ngati Kahu, Ngati Hine), Sacha McMeeking, University of Canterbury, Head of School – Aotahi / Māui Lab Co-Director, Peeni Henare, Minister of Community and Voluntary Sector, Kath Harrison, Chief Executive, Belong Blue Mountains Community and Neighbourhood Services Australia, Damon Salesa, University of Auckland Associate Professor of Pacific Studies and Pro Vice-Chancellor (Pacific) and Panapa Ehau, Director of Hikurangi Enterprises.

CNA members may be able to access funding to help with conference expenses. If you are a CNA member and would like to learn more, please email info@communitynetworksaotearoa.org.nz

To find out more, or register, click here.

Click here and listen to Ros and co-host Sarah Saunders interview Hon Tracy Martin, Minister for Children, Seniors and Internal Affairs.

You can also listen to previous interviews, including Dave Henderson on the Charities Review and Jo Cribb on a governance project she’s involved in (along with CNA).

To blog, or not to blog…

Here are the links to the latest ComVoices blogs on Community Scoop. We recommend a browsing through these blogs. They are fascinating reading as always…

Government reforms/consultations 

Current consultations

  • Important – The Charities Act 2005 is being reviewed to ensure that it is effective and fit for purpose. The consultation period has been extended to 31 May. Have your say here.
  • The Government has announced a review of the New Zealand Health and Disability Sector. The review is keen to hear your thoughts on what system level changes could improve the performance of our health and disability system. For more information click here.
  • Consultation is open on a new strategy for an ageing population – Better Later Life – He Oranga Kaumātua 2019 to 2034. Consultation closes midnight 3 June 2019. To find out more click here.

Other reforms to note

  • The Welfare Expert Advisory Group is advising on the future of the welfare system. The Group’s report is now publicly available – more information can be found here.
  • The Safe and Effective Justice Programme Advisory Group – Te Uepū Hāpai i te Ora – is working on long term solutions to improve community safety and the way justice works. Find out more here.
  • Child Wellbeing Strategy – the strategy will commit Government to set and report on its actions to improve the wellbeing of all children and young people. For more information click here.
  • The Tax Working Group is examining the structure, fairness and balance of New Zealand’s tax system. The Government has now received the Group’s final report – more information and the report can be found here.
  • The Local Government (Community Well-being) Amendment Bill has passed into law. This Bill restored four aspects of community wellbeing in legislation (social, economic, environmental and cultural). For more information click here.
  • The Mental Health and Addiction Report has been released, the Government is yet to formally respond. For more information click here.
  • The Government is considering the establishment of a sector-level bargaining system. This would enable unions and employers to develop Fair Pay Agreements that set minimum terms and conditions for all workers in an entire industry or occupation. The Government has established the Fair Pay Agreement Working Group to make recommendations on the design of this system. The Working Group has released its recommendations. For more information click here.

Campaigns / programmes / events

Do you or your organisation have a campaign or event you would like to highlight? If so send through a brief description to info@communitynetworksaotearoa.org.nz

  • UNICEF NZ has launched Te Hiringa Tamariki, a new wellbeing model that explores wellbeing across four domains: Atua (religion and spirituality), Pakanga (connections, especially amongst whānau), Te Ao (navigating two cultures or worlds) and Ihi (arts, literature, culture and sport). The model is based on interactions with 500 Māori rangatahi. Find out more here.
  • CPAG’s Welfare Fit for Families campaign is about building a welfare system based on principles of compassion and caring, and the real needs of families, without stressful over-emphasis on work, and punitive, corrective methods. More information can be found here.
  • CPAG and ActionStation have launched a petition calling for a welfare system which takes seriously the real needs of people, one that is truly compassionate and kind and cares about the dignity and mana of the people of Aotearoa when they are experiencing truly tough times. You can sign the petition here.
  • CPAG is holding nationwide post budget events – click here to find out more.
  • Join the call to stop loansharks and introduce an interest rate cap in the Credit Contracts Legislation Amendment Bill. Click here.

Things to note before you go

Community Accounting Aotearoa is a free service which offers support, advice or assistance on financial matters.

How Community Accounting Aotearoa can help

Community groups within New Zealand are able to access this service free of charge.

  • Community Accounting Aotearoa provides community groups outside the main centres with free assistance on financial matters.
  • Teams made up of senior accounting students will provide support using digital technology software such as Zoom and Adobe Connect.
  • Community groups require only an internet connection and a computer with a camera.
  • The students are supervised by volunteer Chartered Accountants.

For more information contact Geoff – geoff@ancad.org.nz or phone 021 054 6240

Special offer just for members of Community Networks Aotearoa and their networks – because we think you’re great!

Facing an increase in your insurance premium? Then Community Networks Aotearoa in association with Rothbury Insurance Brokers can help!

This is a package specifically created for community groups and organisations, with extremely discounted rates.

We are pleased to offer this opportunity not only to our member organisations but to their members as well. If you, or one of your network organisations, are interested in receiving an obligation free quote, please contact us for the special code you will require and Rothbury’s contact details.

Photo: Jason Pratt