Catholic recommendations for Budget 2023

Budget 2023

Auckland Catholic diocese has written to the Government’s Finance and Expenditure Select Committee about the 2023 Budget Policy Statement (BPS).

The diocese’s Justice and Peace Commission’s submission particularly focuses on housing and child poverty, Māori children and the youth justice system.

Housing affordability

Acknowledging the ‘10,688 homes added to the public housing stock since 2017″, the Commission said:

“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.

“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,” says Commission member Jan Rutledge of De Paul House.

“Government cannot do this alone and should focus on working with community housing providers … Not everyone wants to live in 2 or 1 bedroom housing which is what is being built by Kainga Ora.”

The Commission’s submission continued:

“The number of households on the Register for public housing continues to rise.

“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.”

The Commission acknowledged the Government’s attempts to reign in the private housing market. It supports the upcoming Budget’s intention to top up the 2020 Progressive Home Ownership Fund.

It asked for additional funds to be allocated to continue and extend the established schemes.

Child poverty

The Commission commended the Government’s May 2021 and 2022 Budgets and their efforts to redress the 1991 Budget’s cuts to base rates of Social Welfare payments. Those cuts led to decades of intergenerational poverty, the Social Welfare Expert Advisory Report says.

“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
  • establishing a Social Welfare Commission to ensure all families access the assistance they are entitled to.

“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.

Māori and Pacific wellbeing

Māori and Pacific families’ wellbeing is a pressing concern.

“Their children’s wellbeing would be immediately improved if the recommendation to increase the base benefit for families by between 12 and 47 percent were implemented. This would have a significant effect on lifting Māori and Pacific incomes, skills and opportunities, the Commission wrote.

The United Nations is concerned about Māori children’s over-representation in the youth justice system and suicides in closed institutions.

It recommends

  • developing an action plan to reduce disparity in detained Māori children’s sentencing, incarceration and survival rates
  • a child rights-based approach measure to end child poverty
  • addressing the connections between offending and neurodisability, alienation from whanau, school and community, substance abuse and family violence.


Additional reading

News category: New Zealand, Palmerston.

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