March 2022: Open letter on vaccine mandates and restrictions: Members of the Wellington EJP Commission and Committees have sent an open letter to the New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference, which is a response to a previous anonymous open letter to the NZCBC on the question of vaccine mandates and restrictions. Our hope in writing the letter is to strengthen the resolve of New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference in continuing with the position taken in the November 2021 pastoral letter until the current Omicron outbreak has passed.
January 2022: Budget Policy Statement submission: The Poverty Committee of the EJP Commission made written and oral submissions to the Finance and Expenditure Select Committee, welcoming the intended focus of Budget 2022 on the Covid-19 response and recovery, family poverty, housing and climate change. The submission also welcomed the increased attention given to the spiritual dimensions of life in He Ara Waiora, which extends the living standards framework.
November 2021: Wellington EJP Commission supports Matariki Bill: The Wellington Archdiocesan Ecology, Justice and Peace Commission has made a written submission to the Māori Affairs Select Committee supporting Te Kāhui o Matariki public holiday bill. The submission said as Catholics we understand ourselves to have inherited responsibility for the verbal assurance given to Bishop Pompallier at Waitangi that all faiths would be respected, including ritenga Māori. We see extending public holiday protection to Matariki as a natural extension of that principle.
August 2021: Wellington EJP Commission welcomes proposals against hateful communications: The Wellington Archdiocesan EJP Commission has made a written submission welcoming Proposals 1-4 of the Ministry of Justice’s consultation on proposals against hatred and discrimination, saying changes are needed urgently to protect the most vulnerable. However, the EJP Commission recommends a longer conversation about Proposal 5 regarding incitement to discrimination. Wel-com story on hate speech submission
May 2021: Mass for the Feast of St Joseph the Worker:The EJP Commission hosted a Mass for the Feast of St Joseph the Worker on 1 May, as part of the Archdiocesan celebrations for the Year of St Joseph. It was followed by a discussion on Pope John Paul II’s 1981 encyclical Laborem Exercens (On human work) in its 40th year, and sharing about work experiences. Celebrant Mgsr Gerard Burns (pictured) shared a Peruvian cross showing Jesus as a sugar cane worker crucified on his work implements. Wel-com story on St Joseph the Worker Mass
May 2021: Submission to Ministry of Education consultation on Aotearoa New Zealand histories: The EJP Commission made a written submission supporting the proposal that New Zealand history should be a feature of the history curriculum at all levels. Quoting Pope Francis that we cannot move forward without remembering the past (Fratelli Tutti) and that young people without a grounding in history can be misled (Christus Vivit), the submission said informed political participation requires a good understanding of history. Wel-com story on histories curriculum review submission
May 2021: Benefit increases of practical and symbolic importance: The Ecology, Justice and Peace Commission has welcomed the benefit increases in Budget 2021, saying they have a symbolic importance beyond their monetary value. “For the first time in decades, the wellbeing of beneficiaries has been given priority in the government’s Budget.” Wel-com story on Budget 2021 responses
May 2021: Submission on the Social Security (Subsequent Child Policy Removal) Amendment Bill: The Poverty Committee made written and oral submissions supporting changes to remove penalties for beneficiaries who had additional children.
March 2021: Submission on the 2021 Budget Policy Statement: The Poverty Committee made written and oral submissions to the Finance and Expenditure Select Committee on the 2021 Budget Policy Statement. Fr Tom Rouse told the Committee that the government needed better analysis of the impacts of Covid-19 on inequality, but supported government decisions to work beyond the constraints of the Financial Responsibility Act in its Covid-19 response.
February 2021: Submission opposing Youth Justice demerit bill: The EJP Commission’s Poverty Committee joined many other groups in the community in making a submission opposing the Oranga Tamariki (Youth Justice Demerit Points) Amendment Bill. The Private member’s bill was subsequently withdrawn by its sponsor. Wel-com article on Youth demerit points submissions
January 2021: Submission in Support of Increased Sick Leave: The Ecology, Justice and Peace Commission supported the increase in sick leave from five to 10 days, saying it was essential to ensure anyone who is unwell is able to stay home, especially in the time of a pandemic. Wel-com story on sick leave submission
December 2020: DVDs for youth in prison: Over 300 DVDs were donated for use by young people in prison after an appeal from Challenge 2000 and the Poverty Committee. Wel-com article on DVDs
July 2020: Reflection on solidarity: Mgsr Gerard Burns offers a reflection on solidarity in the context of the Covid-19 lockdowns and Black Lives Matter protests.
February 2020: Submission on Budget Policy Statement 2020: The EJP Commission’s Poverty Committee made written and oral submissions asking that addressing benefit rates be the focus of government spending in Budget 2020. Wel-com story on Budget Policy Statement 2020 submission
November 2019: Submission to MBIE consultation “Addressing Migrant Worker Exploitation: The EJP Commission’s Poverty Committee made a written submission including experiences and observations from the work of the Filipino chaplaincy supporting migrant workers. Members of the Poverty Committee and Filipino chaplaincy also met with National MP Paulo Garcia to discuss concerns.
September 2019: Public meeting on migrant worker experiences: The Ecology, Justice and Peace Commission hosted a public meeting on migrant worker exploitation and experiences. Over 100 people heard presentations from the Barangay Santa Maria of the Filipino Chaplaincy, Cardinal John Dew, Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand, and the Minister for Immigration. Wel-com story on migrant worker exploitation meeting
June 2019: Submission on the Credit Contracts Legislation Amendment Bill: The Poverty Committee submitted to the Finance and Expenditure in a written submission that more controls were needed to protect the most vulnerable, and that credit information should be provided in the languages in which lenders advertise their services.
May 2019: We are different but united in grief: Sr Ruth Coleman, Chair of the Archdiocese of Wellington Ecology, Justice and Peace Commission, spoke at the 2019 rally against racism, organised after the attacks on two Christchurch mosques which killed 51 people. She said God created us to be different to each other, and we need to allow diversity and not be threatened by differences.