City Missioner calls for shake-up of government agencies

Press Release – Auckland City Mission
The Auckland City Missioner says a report on child poverty is timely, and if the recommendations in it were adopted it would have a significant impact. However, she says what is ultimately needed is a change in the way government agencies work.

The report, commissioned by the Children’s Commissioner and released by an expert advisory group, makes 78 recommendations to help eradicate child poverty.

They include passing on child support to sole parents on benefits, issuing warrants of fitness for rental housing, boosting the Food in Schools programme and offering low-interest loans to low-income families.

Auckland City Missioner Diane Robertson says she welcomes the report, but we need to dig even deeper for solutions.

“I applaud the recommendations, some of which will go a long way towards mitigating the effects of child poverty. Long-term eradication of the problem, however, ultimately requires a radically different way of working.”

“Families face an obstacle course every day in dealing with government agencies. What is needed is a decrease in bureaucracy and a system that is more responsive to the needs of families.”

Diane Robertson says what is also needed is greater co-ordination between social services, in order to avoid duplication and miscommunication, and a greater focus on families and communities as a whole.

“Unless we start to look seriously at the actual system within which vulnerable families are forced to operate, any changes made will be temporary and their effectiveness will be limited.

“This Christmas the Mission cannot wave a magic wand and alleviate child poverty. But we can ensure as many children as possible are fed, clothed and able to experience the magic of Christmas. And of course, we will continue every day to advocate for sustained systemic change that will lead to reduced rates of poverty in our city and country.”

The Auckland City Mission Christmas Appeal, “Become Someone’s Angel”, aims to raise $900,000 to help families in need.

Donate online at:

Make a donation over the phone by calling (09) 303 9200.

Text Angel to 9090 to Become Someone’s Angel and download our Angel app.

Donate Christmas presents and food: Donations can be dropped off at 140 Hobson Street or your local ASB branch.

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