MANA’s policy priorities

MANA are fully behind the three recommendations that ComVoices are promoting.  I’ve attached a copy of our social wellbeing policy which includes a section on the tangata whenua, community and voluntary sector.

Dr Helen Potter, Senior Adviser/Researcher, MANA Party


Social Wellbeing

MANA believes all people have the right to a life of dignity.  Adults have the right to a decent job or to training and education that will enable them to get a job, and to an adequate level of support should they not be able to support themselves and those who depend on them.  Raising the incomes of those on the lowest levels is critical to ending child poverty and improving individual and whānau wellbeing.

The current welfare system needs a significant overhaul to provide an effective and compassionate service to those who are out of work, sick, injured, disabled, elderly, or raising children as a sole parent.  It is too complicated, wastes too much money on administration, provides inadequate levels of support, and often treats people very poorly.

MANA believes all children deserve the best possible start in life.  At the same time social harms like violence, abuse and neglect, problem drinking and gambling impact significantly on many individuals, families, whānau, and their children.

Government has a role in helping to address these issues, as do whānau, hapū, iwi, and church, community, union, and other voluntary organisations.  The non-government sector has the capacity to achieve far more than is currently possible if properly supported by policies, laws, and funding arrangements that enable them to flourish.

MANA policy priorities are to:

  • Overhaul the welfare system to provide an effective, compassionate service
    • Make full employment a top priority of government.
    • Provide a yearly one-off hardship grant of $1,000 for every person aged 18 and over who is on an income of $30,000 or less, whether they are on a benefit or in paid work – and for it to be paid by Christmas each year, to enable people to address immediate needs.
    • Increase benefit levels to provide a liveable income.
    • Eliminate economic discrimination against the children of beneficiaries, as happens in the current ‘Working for Families’ policy.
    • Reinstate the Training Incentive Allowance for people on the Domestic Purposes Benefit so they can access all levels of tertiary education.
    • Extend the payment of NZ superannuation to those aged 60 years and over.  Throw out the current social security law which is complex and out of date, and write new law based on making the welfare system simple and fair, based on the principles of manaakitanga.
    • Radically change the culture of WINZ so that people are treated with respect, granted their full entitlements, with staff who are trained and supported to work sensitively with people from a diverse range of backgrounds.  This would include establishing an independent body to review benefit decisions and complaints against staff who mistreat people.
    • Provide stable, ongoing funding for community based beneficiary and ACC advocacy groups throughout the country.
    • Work towards implementing a Universal Basic Income where everyone in Aotearoa aged 18 and over would receive a minimum, liveable, tax free income after which progressive tax would kick in.  This would eliminate the huge costs involved in administering the current shame and blame WINZ system, and do much to end poverty and address growing inequality.
  • Ensure all children have the best possible start in life
    • Take all possible steps to end child poverty, including setting a comprehensive plan for its elimination and monitoring progress towards it.
    • Recognise that the work of raising children is as important as paid work by extending paid parental leave to 12 months, and supporting quality pre-school and out of school education.
    • Increase funding and other support for children with disabilities and their families and whānau.
    • Ensure that the needs and rights of tamariki and rangatahi are reflected in all policies that may affect them, and where possible, involve them in planning and decision making.
    • Ensure quality mental health services for children and young people are adequately funded and available in all parts of the country.
  • Address family and sexual violence
    • Promote in every way practicable a culture of non-violence in the home, school, and communities.
    • Resource and support marae-based programmes that work to restore whanau wellbeing.
    • Resource and support parenting education in schools, and increase funding for quality parent and family support programmes in the community.
    • Provide stable, sufficient funding for women’s refuge, rape crisis, men’s stopping violence groups and other organisations working to support those affected by family violence.
    • Provide free counselling and well subsidised legal support for those affected by family and sexual violence.
    • Provide appropriate frontline support for rape and domestic violence.
  • Improve the functioning of CYFS
    • Improve the quality and accountability of CYFS services throughout the country, including in towns and rural areas. Ensure adequate training and support for staff and develop an organisational culture which respects and understands the children, whānau, and communities served by CYFS.
    • Set up an independent review and appeals system for those who have complaints about CYFS.
    • Replace the Adoption Act 1955 and update it with new legislation which takes into account whangai adoption, an understanding that the welfare and rights of children should be paramount, and that gay, lesbian, and transgender couples should be granted the same status as anyone else in regards to adoption law and practice.
  • Abolish pokie machines and address the harms from problem gambling
    • Abolish pokie machines from local communities and allow a community veto on pokies in casinos.
    • Remove the distribution of pokie profits from the gaming charities, and allocate funding through established, publicly accountable mechanisms such as COGS or Internal Affairs Lotteries committees.
    • End gambling advertising in all media.
    • Ensure that organisations which deal with the harms created by problem gambling are adequately resourced out of the proceeds of gambling.
  • Reduce access to alcohol and address problem drinking and drug use
    • Give communities a veto over whether and where liquor outlets are established.
    • End alcohol advertising on radio and TV and replace sponsorship of cultural and sports events by alcohol companies with government funding.
    • Strengthen legislation to restrict the ability of alcohol companies to sell, promote and discount alcohol to reduce drinking and particularly teenage drinking.
    • Increase alcohol taxes and use the income generated to help fund quality residential and community-based alcohol and drug addiction services and drug cessation programmes across the country.
    • The age of purchase of alcohol in any setting to be raised to 20 years with a five-year sunset clause to give time for the alcohol industry to be better regulated to end their predatory practices.
    • Continue the ban on the sale and supply of all synthetic cannabis products and move to also ban their importation and manufacture in New Zealand.
  • Support development of the tangata whenua, community & voluntary sector
    • Ensure government departments understand and recognise the key role this sector plays in enhancing social, cultural, environmental, and economic wellbeing.
    • Review the Charities Act 2005 to ensure organisations that have an advocacy role are not denied charitable status. Political advocacy should not be used as a reason to be refused government or charitable funding.
    • Improve access to grants and loan funding and facilitate an enabling legal environment for the development of community enterprises including consumer, worker and housing cooperatives and community-run finance and banking initiatives and alternative barter and currency schemes.
    • Establish a government backed community-owned banking network, either as a new entity or as a non-profit, stand-alone part of Kiwibank, to provide capital for the development of community enterprises which support job creation, and the meeting of social, cultural and environmental needs.
    • Work to ensure Government understands and respects the worth of voluntary work in the community, on the marae, and in the home, including the right of tangata whenua to determine what ‘voluntary’ and ‘community sector’ means to them.