The Government established the Welfare Expert Advisory Group (WEAG) in May 2018 to provide advice on the future of New Zealand’s welfare system
The WEAG’s final consensus report “Whakamana Tāngata Restoring Dignity to Social Security in New Zealand” covers a considerable breadth and depth of research, insights and advice.
It includes valuable insights from nearly 3,000 New Zealanders who were involved during the consultation process.
“Our findings are robust and rigorous, based on evidence and research from NZ and overseas as well as the experiences of people supported by and working in the social security system. And our solutions are evidence-based,” WEAG Chair, Professor Cindy Kiro said.
The WEAG was made up of 11 members representing a diverse range of backgrounds, expertise and views. Their skills and expertise included disability, young people, advocacy in the welfare system, employment, Māori, Pacific, economics, health, business and research and analysis.
The independence granted to the WEAG and their Terms of Reference has enabled the most wide-ranging review of the system in a generation.
The WEAG has found that the current system is not delivering for the most vulnerable New Zealanders. Too many people are leading desperate lives with seriously inadequate incomes.
“Our review of the current system has led us to the clear and unequivocal conclusion that fundamental change is needed. We cannot solve the existing problems, let along create a system that will serve future needs, through further ad hoc amendments or marginal changes,” WEAG Chair, Professor Cindy Kiro said.
The WEAGs recommendations embed a new basis for social security, restoring trust in the system and enabling whakamana tāngata, to ensure people can live in dignity so they can participate meaningfully with their families and communities.
Addressing the imbalances in the system to treat people more fairly will ensure a better future for all New Zealanders.
Kia piki ake te mana tangata.