ANZASW Response to the 2020 Election Results

ANZASW is pleased to respond to the election results of 2020. An extremely clear win from Labour has given them the ability to govern alone if they choose. With the highest voter turnout in 20 years, the people of New Zealand overwhelmingly chose parties that promised to invest in the public and its wellbeing.

ANZASW is excited that the incoming Government has promised to focus and invest in the people of Aotearoa. After campaigning on policies surrounding issues of benefits, increases in minimum wage, reducing child poverty and tackling family and sexual violence there is an expectation from the public that actionable change will be made. Labour has also promised to increase the supply of public housing by 8,000 homes. As the professional association for social workers, ANZASW is pleased to hear that those who our members often work with will be the focus of targeted support.

ANZASW is hopeful that recommendations highlighted in the Whakamana Tāngata, a report published by the Welfare Expert Advisory Group in May 2019 will be implemented. The report found that current systems are not delivering to New Zealand’s most vulnerable. It highlighted that too many people are struggling to make ends meet with critically inadequate incomes, an observation that will not be news for social workers who so often work within these struggling groups.

While it is undoubtedly encouraging to see such progressive election results, improvements in issues of poverty, inequality and housing will not come easily. After promising to overturn our welfare system, it is now on Labour to deliver these results, a challenging task at the best of times, let alone amidst a global health pandemic.

Labour campaigned hard on policies that will address some of the most prominent social issues facing Aotearoa. However the challenge to reduce such inequalities will be extremely difficult in the wake of Covid-19.

With thousands of people losing jobs and an economy in recession, more and more families are likely to be pushed into poverty.

ANZASW will be submitting its Briefing to Incoming Ministers over the next couple of weeks and will be sure to emphasise the experiences and insights of social workers on issues that need urgent and critical attention.

We remain hopeful, that the incoming Government will work to provide better support and services for our nation’s most vulnerable communities.