Welfare Expert Advisory Group: "It’s time to restore dignity to social security in New Zealand"
03 May 2019
The Public Service Association (PSA) has strongly welcomed today’s release of the Welfare Expert Advisory report, Whakamana Tāngata, and the opportunities it presents for an overhaul of the welfare system as we know it.
"The vision of a social security system based on ‘whakamana tāngata’ - that restores dignity to people and allows meaningful participation in the economy and in communities - is highly consistent with the aspirations of our members working in MSD and across our union," says PSA national secretary Kerry Davies.
"The PSA considers these recommendations a positive step towards providing for people in need and combatting the ongoing issues of inequality and hardship."
"We also welcome today’s announcements from the Government in its response to the report so far. We are particularly pleased by the announcement of extra frontline staff to help people into meaningful and sustainable work," she says.
"Our members in the frontline are passionate about helping others, and have long been frustrated by the barriers to do their jobs to the best of their ability due to understaffing and unrealistic caseloads,"
"The findings of the advisory group and their recommendations are consistent with what our members have been saying for a long time, and we are pleased that their voices are being heard."
The PSA is heartened by the specifications made for Maori and Pasifika, with approaches proposed to lift outcomes for those who are particularly adversely affected by the current system.
"PSA reps have already been working with the Ministry on a number of these areas for a while, and now look forward to working further with MSD and the government on the recommendations. It will be essential to involve our members throughout the development and deployment of any changes."
"We now urge the Government to adopt the recommendations of the advisory group. Given the finding of the report that current benefit levels are wholly inadequate, this must include immediate and substantial increases in benefit levels, and the indexing of all benefits to wage or CPI increases."
"It must also include the substantial investment in public housing recommended by the advisory group. We have long argued that public housing needs to increase on an ‘industrial scale’ and we are very pleased to see this message echoed in the working group report."
"We hope to see implementation of the report findings soon, and look forward to the creation of a social security system that can serve the needs of New Zealanders today."