…[D]ownsizing of social security systems [has] … grave danger for the rights of workers, for fundamental human rights and for … solidarity. [B]udgetary policies, with cuts in social spending often made under pressure from international financial institutions, can leave citizens powerless in the face of old and new risks …
– Pope Benedict XVI, Caritas in Veritate #25, 2009
When the aspirations of the wealthy take priority over the needs of the disadvantaged, the Church must say so.
– Cardinal Tom Williams, homily on the anniversary of Rerum Novarum, 15 May 1991
The Social Welfare / Anti-Poverty Committee originated with the concern of the Justice and Peace Commission over the recommendations by the government-appointed Welfare Working Group. That report (the Rebstock Report) assumed that most beneficiaries prefer to avoid work, and suggested increased use of sanctions and penalties.
The Committee aligned itself with the Alternative Welfare Working Group (initiated by Caritas, the Anglican Social Justice Commission and the Beneficiary Advocacy Federation), which begins with concern for fundamental human dignity and rights of each human being to an adequate standard of living. Recommendations include full and adequately-paid employment and higher welfare benefits in order to reduce currently unacceptable levels of poverty in New Zealand.
The Committee’s work on children in New Zealand was based on the vulnerability of all children and adequate provision of support for their families. Issues of targetting vs universal programmes, inequality, taxation and others are discussed in the submission cited below.
The Committee has:
- Partnered with Caritas to distribute the Guide to the Welfare Reform Debate leaflet in Auckland parishes (Oct-Nov 2011)
- Made a submission to the Minister of Social Development on the Green Paper for Vulnerable Children (Feb 2012)
- Made a submission to the Select Committee on Health for the Inquiry into Preventing Child Abuse (May 2012)
- Prepared the Commission’s 2012 BudgetStatement (May 2012)
- Made a submission on Paid Parental Leave (Oct 2012)
- Made a submission to the Expert Advisory Board on Solutions to Child Poverty (Oct 2012)
- Made a submission to the Social Services Committee on Children, Young persons & their Families (27th July 2016)
The Committee continues to focus on issues of inequality and welfare reform.
Convenor: Gretel Toleafoa