Justice & Peace Commission

29.1.23 SUBMISSION to Finance and Expenditure Select Committee on 2023 Budget Policy Statement

The Justice & Peace Commission of the Catholic Diocese of Auckland is established to promote justice, peace, integral human development and the care of creation especially for the poor and marginalised in New Zealand society.


Housing affordability

We are encouraged that BPS 2023 states “The Government remains committed to providing a safety net for people who need public housing.’ (p.12).

While ‘10,688 homes have been added to the public housing stock since 2017’ it is not clear how many state houses have been removed or demolished in that time. It would be helpful to know the net gain in public housing and how this could be increased given the large number of families waiting for housing.

Jan Rutledge General Manager of De Paul House says:

‘The importance of affordable and sustainable housing is the key to addressing social and economic inequalities, and ensuring that children have a secure start in life. Government cannot do this alone and should focus on working with community housing providers, and resetting their funding parameters, so that housing stock reflects the aspirations of Māori and Pasifika. Not everyone wants to live in 2 or 1 bedroom housing which is what is being built by Kainga Ora.’

Vicki Sykes CEO of Monte Cecilia Housing Trust urges the Government to encourage more community partnerships especially CHPs and a reversal of the ‘re-directs’ policy which is clogging up the housing pipeline for so many families.

The number of households on the Register for public housing continues to rise in spite of apparent efforts to reduce eligibility.


It is abundantly clear that there is a huge lack of public housing units to accommodate those who need them and this has been the situation for far too long.


We urge the Government to be prepared to put large resources of land and money towards tackling this pressing societal problem.


A specific major allocation of funding to provide more public housing should be a priority in the Budget.


We acknowledge the Government’s serious attempts to reign in the private housing market and support the topping up in this Budget of the July 2020 Progressive Home Ownership Fund which anticipated to help between 1500 and 4000 NZ families purchase homes through shared ownership, rent to buy and leasehold schemes. The demands are too great for this to be a one-off allocation of funding. Further funds should be allocated to continue and extend the schemes.


Child poverty

We commend the first steps taken in the May 2021 and 2022 Budgets to redress the injustice of the 1991 slashing of base rates of Social Welfare payments to some of our most vulnerable families that has led to decades of intergeneration poverty as identified by the Social Welfare Expert Advisory Report.


Implementing recommendation 20 of this report would enable so many families to support themselves with dignity and start New Zealand on the road to reverse the march of child poverty that is so unnecessarily blighting so many lives.


We ask that child poverty be addressed by including in the 2023 Budget sufficient funds to lift the wellbeing of families in need by enabling them to have a decent income to support themselves by

·      Substantially increasing the base benefit for families in line with accumulated inflation ,
·      continuing to increase the minimum wage, and
·      establishing a Social Welfare Commission to ensure all families access the assistance they are entitled to in times of need.

What is needed now is substantive action to address this massive injustice that prevents the poorest and most vulnerable in society being able to genuinely participate in building a decent society for all.


The Wellbeing of Māori and Pacific families are among those most affected.  Their children’s wellbeing would be immediately improved if the key recommendation of the Social Welfare Expert Advisory Group to increase the base benefit for families by between 12 and 47 percent was implemented. Such a move would have a significant effect on lifting Māori and Pacific incomes, skills and opportunities.


The Government has made some minor moves in this area but this is way short of what is needed. The more substantive change is delayed the more children are suffering damaging their development for life and making it more difficult to attend school on a regular basis.

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