Valuing Human Dignity and Creating an Environment for People to Flourish
Today, Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand present their oral submission on the Budget Policy Statement at Bowen House. In it they welcome the living standard framework but want to make sure those on the margins and peripheries are included in decision-making.
In their annual submission, Caritas representatives Roger Ellis (Community Engagement Manager), Teresa Thorp (Advocacy and Research Manager), and Julianne Hickey (Director) commented on: the living standards framework & inter-generational well-being; exclusion; families, children and affordable housing; and the environment & climate change.
Inspired by Catholic Social Teaching (CST), the trio points to the need to respect human dignity and foster integral human development alongside economic development. Julianne Hickey comments, “what we are seeing in the Statement this year is very different than previous years; it goes beyond economic development to also look at sustainably developing our communities, families and youth.”
The Budget Policy Statement, however, must ensure groups on the margins and peripheries have their needs met. “Investment in public infrastructure cannot just benefit one region but all. Similarly, we need to make sure resources are meeting the most vulnerable people, and that they are included in decision-making,” notes Advocacy and Research Manager Teresa Thorp.
Much work remains to be done around families and children, as well as affordable housing. Caritas urges the government to prioritise investing in more secure, affordable and good quality housing for families and individuals who are unable to afford, buy, or rent in the current market. This issue, has been longstanding on Caritas’ radar. Too many people do not have a safe place to call home.
“We are encouraged by programmes such as the Families Package, the Winter Energy Payment plan, and KiwiBuild. But we want to make sure these programmes are effectively and appropriately monitored so that we understand success, areas of improvement, and other needs not being addressed,” says Community Engagement Manager Roger Ellis.
The establishment of an independent Climate Commission, setting a net zero carbon emission goal and New Zealand’s commitment to the Paris Agreement are quite promising for the environment and climate change programming. However, much needs to be done to address climate finance for mitigation and adaptation. Peoples of the Pacific region are still confronted with the long-term effects of climate change such as climate-induced migration. Caritas calls for more funding for disaster resilience and recovery, as well as adaptation projects across the Pacific.
Caritas Director Julianne Hickey summarises the organisation’s submission stating, “Human dignity is a bedrock of Caritas’ work; we must ensure individuals are able to have their needs met in order to flourish.”