WelCom News
A newspaper for the Wellington and Palmerston North Catholic Dioceses

Leaders call for action on poverty in election year

Support for families and elimination of poverty are part of a five-pronged approach to raising awareness of social issues leading up to this year’s general election.

Apr08Church_leaders.jpg The New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services, with the support of church leaders, has launched an information programme aimed at raising public awareness of social justice and compassion issues.
NZCCSS comprises a number of church agencies including Catholic Social Services.

President Ross Kendrew said the organisation had chosen the theme ‘Let us look after each other—Aroha t%u0113tahi ki t%u0113tahi’ because it reinforces the sense of living in an inter-dependent society—‘one in which we should measure success by the wellbeing of the most vulnerable among us.’
‘As we enter another election year cycle the NZCCSS has been drawing on its collective experience, its extensive networks and its policy-watching role to question whether the situation of the poor and the vulnerable in Aotearoa New Zealand is high enough on the agenda of public concerns.’

Every day members of NZCCSS actively supported families and individuals to deal with the consequences of the poverty traps that still exist in New Zealand, he said.
‘By their complex nature, social issues should not be dealt with in isolation from each other, or by policies that do not respond to the grassroots voices of the people most affected by those policies.’

The council has identified five policy concerns including support for families and communities to nurture and protect children, dignity for an ageing population, poverty elimination, access to affordable housing, and government support for community-based solutions.

‘Our belief is that a just and compassionate society has to be based on policies that closely address all of these concerns.’
Ross Kendrew said New Zealand had reached a point where a high level and wide-ranging call for more awareness and action about entrenched social issues was needed.

‘To begin this process we will be working with the six major denominations that support NZCCSS to promote social justice and compassion during 2008 to church locations and congregations around the country.
And he called on all New Zealanders, including politicians across the political spectrum, to think deeply about the meaning of the NZCCSS programme’s theme
– Let us look after each other, Aroha t%u0113tahi ki t%u0113tahi – and how it might inform or inspire their own actions.

For more information:
www.justiceandcompassion.org.nz.

Picture shows: Reverend Brian Turner, Commissioner Garth McKenzie, Rodney Macann, Right Reverend Pamela Tankersley, Archbishop David Moxon, and Archbishop John Dew.