Stout Research Centre for New Zealand Studies, Poverty, by Design: The systems that hold families in poverty, and what needs to change

Seminar Series 24 July to 28 August 2024

Wednesdays  5.30pmVenuePresenterSeminar
24 July Rutherford House
Lecture Theatre RHLT2
Max Rashbrooke Chair: Stephanie McIntyre, former director of Downtown Community Ministry    Poverty in Aotearoa New Zealand: Where are we now?Six years after the introduction of the Child Poverty Reduction Act, Max looks at our collective response to the crisis of poverty. He gives an overview of the multiple economic and social foundations of poverty in Aotearoa New Zealand, and how those systems hold people in hardship. Max will also look at the state of welfare reform following the 2019 Welfare Expert Advisory Group, and where things are headed now.Max Rashbrooke is a Wellington-based writer and public intellectual, with twin interests in economic inequality and democratic renewal. His books include Too Much Money: How Wealth Disparities are Unbalancing Aotearoa New Zealand and Inequality: A New Zealand Crisis. A senior research fellow (adjunct) at Victoria University’s School of Government, he pens a fortnightly column for both The Post and The Spinoff and writes for international outlets including the Guardian. He has also recently helped launch IDEA, the Institute for Democratic and Economic Analysis, a new public policy think-tank. 
31 July RHLT2Charles Waldegrave Chair: Paul Gilberd, CEO of Community Housing Aotearoa Broken HomesCharles Waldegrave on our failed housing system and what we can do about it. How have we become a country with one of the highest housing costs per income in the OECD? How did we transition from one of the most affordable countries to buy a house in, to one of the least affordable? Why is New Zealand growing the divide between an asset-owning class and a non-owning asset class? Charles has been working in this space for thirty years and latterly on research for the Waitangi Tribunal’s inquiry into Māori housing – “Māori Home Ownership 1991 – 2021”, with another report on Social Housing to come. He will demonstrate, with evidence, how Aotearoa provided affordable housing stability during the post-war years and then abandoned that achievement and created the conditions for the current housing crisis. He will reflect on the lessons to be learned and suggest ways to create secure affordable housing in Aotearoa again. Charles Waldegrave coordinates the Family Centre Social Policy Research Unit. He leads the research team that sets New Zealand’s ‘Living Wage’ each year. With colleagues, he set up the New Zealand Poverty Measurement Project which developed 7 of the 10 measures of poverty used in the Child Poverty Reduction Act 2018 and included housing costs. He was a member of the Welfare Expert Advisory Group where he led the Housing workstream. He has published numerous papers on housing, and most recently a commissioned report for the Waitangi Tribunal: ‘Māori Home Ownership 1991-2021’.    
7 August RHLT2  Ragne Maxwell, Jason Ataera, Michelle Picard, Lisa te Morenga Chair: Anna Fifield, Asia-Pacific Editor, The Washington Post                 Hunger to Learn
One in five children in Aotearoa live in households where food runs out often or sometimes. For Māori and Pacific children the percentages are higher – 35% and 40% respectively. Ka Ora, Ka Ako, the government-funded school lunch programme, was launched in 2020 for schools whose students face the greatest socio-economic barriers. But it has become politically controversial, and funding for children in years 7 to 13 has been significantly reduced, with the savings going to a new programme for low-decile, non-profit, community early childhood centres. The future of Ka Ora, Ka Ako remains uncertain, with the government planning a full redesign.The seminar will hear from school principals Ragne Maxwell, Jason Ataera and Michelle Picard about their experience of Ka Ora, Ka Ako and its impact on their students and school communities. They will be joined public health researcher Professor Lisa te Morenga about the impact of food poverty on children’s learning, and the results of Ka Ora, Ka Ako after four years of operation.
Ragne Maxwell is principal of Porirua College, a year 9-13 co-ed school in Cannons Creek, Porirua. Jason Ataera is principal of Tairangi School, a year 1-8 primary school in Waitangirua, Porirua. Michelle Picard is principal of Taita Central School, a year 1-6 contributing school in Taita, Lower Hutt. Massey University Professor Lisa te Morenga is a nutrition and Māori health researcher, Rutherford Discovery Fellow, investigator with the Riddet Institute, and co-chair of Health Coalition Aotearoa.  
14 August  RHLT2  Lyndy McIntyre
Living Wage organisers/workers. Chair: Dougal McNeill, senior lecturer in English, Te Herenga Waka Victoria University of Wellington

Bad jobs & Better jobs.  The difference the living wage makes.Following the introduction of the Employment Contracts Act in 1991, the unions representing Aotearoa’s lowest-paid workers increasingly struggled to win pay rises. Wages and conditions spiralled down, along with union density and power. In 2012 an alliance of unions, community organisations and faith groups was launched with a commitment to campaign to win the living wage. Living Wage Movement Aotearoa NZ has waged many campaigns, winning significant pay rises for the lowest paid in our country. These campaigns have changed the lives of thousands of workers and their whānau and bad jobs have become better jobs. Lyndy will be joined in her presentation by long-time cleaners, E tū members and living wage activists Mele Peaua and Mareta Sinoti. Lyndy McIntyre has been active in the New Zealand trade union movement for more than 40 years, initially as a member of the Printers Union and from 1990 in a wide range of roles in Aotearoa and briefly in Australia. She was a key member of the Living Wage Movement Aotearoa NZ from its inception in 2011 until 2020, when she left her role as a community organiser and began to write a book documenting the story of the movement. Power to Win tells the story of the Living Wage Movement through the voices of workers, activists, leaders and allies. The book sets out to inspire activism to build the community power necessary to win decent wages for all workers. 
Final two seminars will be held at Government Buildings Lecture Theatre 1 – Pipitea Campus [behind Law School] 
21 August   Old Government Buildings
Lecture Theatre 1
Aaron Smale

Chair: Cybele Locke, senior lecturer in History, Te Herenga Waka Victoria University of Wellington
New Zealand’s Racialised Poverty and the Removal of Children
Investigative journalist Aaron Smale has covered the abuse of children in state custody for the last eight years.  He gives an overview of the economic and social drivers that led to the incarceration of Māori children, the parallels with other colonising countries, the findings of the Royal Commission and the risks that we’re going to simply repeat this history.
Aaron Smale is an award-winning journalist who has written extensively on Māori children in state custody. Aaron has previously worked as associate editor for Mana magazine and has covered te ao Māori issues for a number of news media platforms including RNZ, Newsroom, North & South, NZ Geographic, Al Jazeera and the Guardian. He is a former Ochberg Fellow at Columbia University’s Dart Center, which is focused on reporting on trauma. He has an MA in Creative Writing from Te Herenga Waka Victoria University of Wellington. 
28 August   Old Government BuildingsLecture Theatre 1Jake Lilley Chair: Sue Maroney,Chief Executive Officer at Community Law Centres O Aotearoa
A Decade of DebtFinancial mentors across Aotearoa continue to see whānau stuck with private and government debt deductions off their benefits which leaves them without money for the essentials. Jake will provide an overview of how a change in settings in 2014 has turned Work and Income’s systems into a conveyor belt for private debt collection at scale. He will also detail how benefit incomes are being undermined by the creation and collection of debt to government along with FinCap’s recommendations for ceasing these drivers of poverty.Jake Lilley is a senior policy advisor at FinCap, specialising in consumer protection and working with a network of more than 800 financial mentors across Aotearoa. He has been a member of the Responsible Lending Code Advisory Group, a member of the Energy Hardship Reference Group and previously worked at the Consumer Action Law Centre in Australia.