Ministry for Child Poverty Reduction could be Game Changer

 

 

A statement from the Justice and Peace Commission

of the Catholic Diocese of Auckland

26 October 2017

Caring for Families

 The Auckland Catholic Diocese Commission for Justice and Peace is encouraged by the establishment of the Ministry for Child Poverty Reduction headed by the Prime Minister as one of the Coalition Government’s initiatives.  It signals that the incoming Government is giving priority to support the poorest and most vulnerable in society.

This would be helped if the Government was to establish a Benefits Entitlement Commissioner to provide a network of advocates who could be called upon to provide information and practical support to help people access the assistance they are entitled to in times of need.

The progressive increase in the minimum wage to S20 by 2021 will be welcomed by the estimated 700,000 people who presently earn less than the Living Wage.  The Government should set an example by committing to paying the Living Wage to all state employees and ensuring that their contractors do likewise.

It is hoped that the establishment of a Mental Health Commission to fund, control and direct mental health services will redress years of inadequate funding which resulted in much family stress and alarming suicide rates. The funding for family violence networks is welcomed.

We look forward to the new Government valuing and protecting life in all its stages.

Housing the Homeless

The incoming Government’s intention to establish a Housing Commission and contribute to the overall housing stock by providing 10,000 more houses per year will help alleviate a homelessness crisis that has escalated in recent years.

We would welcome a provision for warrants of fitness and security of tenure for private rental housing to assure families of an adequate standard of housing to help reduce health risks, especially to children.

Investing in Prisoner Rehabilitation

Extra funding for new police officers needs to be matched by funding the Department of Corrections to create a long-term strategy to improve prisoner health and literacy and preparation for employment. This would promote healthy rehabilitation, reduce re-offending and achieve successful reintegration into society. The extension of the Housing First initiative to released prisoners would greatly assist in this process.

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