We released our report on welfare policy, Welfare, Work and Wellbeing: From Benefits to Better Lives, with a panel discussion on 28 November in Wellington.
Author Bryce Wilkinson and social activist and former MP Sue Bradford, who wrote the foreword, discussed the report's findings with a diverse and knowledgeable audience of about 100 people. We discussed welfare policy and what the government can do to break the cycle of disadvantage. There were many perspectives, but hearteningly also a lot of common ground.
New Zealand deserves a welfare system that does more than provide a safety net for those who need it. It needs to provide ways for beneficiaries to realise their potential and lead meaningful and fulfilling lives. This is not happening at present. Abuse, neglect, addiction, youth justice interactions, lack of skills and wasted potential are too prevalent and too self-perpetuating. A welfare system must aim to remove misery not feed it. Promising initiatives have commenced but much remains to be done. What has gone wrong? What has been tried? What must be done next? On 28 November 2017, The New Zealand Initiative will launch a new report that addresses these questions.
About the speakers
Sue Bradford is a former Green MP (1999-2009) and longterm advocate and activist with unemployed workers’ and beneficiaries’ organisations, most recently Auckland Action Against Poverty. She completed a public policy doctorate with Prof Marilyn Waring at AUT in 2014 investigating issues around the establishment of a major left think tank (or tanks) in New Zealand. Sue currently works freelance as a researcher, educator and writer.
Bryce Wilkinson is a Senior Fellow at The New Zealand Initiative, and also the Director of the Wellington-based economic consultancy firm Capital Economics. Prior to setting this up in 1997 he was a Director of, and shareholder in, First NZ Capital. Before moving into investment banking in 1985, he worked in the New Zealand Treasury, reaching the position of Director. Bryce holds a PhD in economics from the University of Canterbury and was a Harkness Fellow at Harvard University.
Tuesday 28 November 2017
5.30pm - 6.00pm Arrival
6.00pm - 7.00pm Panel discussion
7.00pm - 8.00pm Drinks and nibbles
Location The New Zealand Initiative Level 12, 36 Brandon St, Bayleys Building Wellington