Easter message: Make post-COVID future a new beginning – Caritas
With Easter approaching, this year can mark the end of the old normal and the beginning of a new ‘normal’ that includes and provides for all, Caritas told Parliament today in its submission on the Budget Policy Statement.
“Governments have an opportunity to provide leadership towards a more sustainable future,” Caritas Director Julianne Hickey told Parliament’s Finance and Expenditure Committee, “a future that addresses the interwoven environmental, economic and social crises.”
“The New Zealand pandemic response illustrated that strong, decisive action can be taken when there is a clear and recognised threat to human life and when there is sufficient will to protect the vulnerable,” she said. The focus of the team of five million on the common good needs to continue in “building back better” from the pandemic to a more just, inclusive, sustainable and peaceful society.
Engagement Manager Roger Ellis said transformative change was needed for a just and sustainable economy, particularly in transport and agriculture, while ensuring the negative impacts of change don't unfairly fall on the poor at home nor in our Pacific neighbourhood.
Caritas highlighted the need to include all, noting barriers to participation by people with disabilities, by the elderly and others who feel left behind or left out by rapid technological change. “New targeted programmes will be required to ensure that older workers and retired people have a ‘place at the table’ to participate in a post-Covid society,” Roger Ellis.
Despite some progress in child poverty statistics, poverty among Māori and Pacific families and children with disabilities remains well above the national average.
To address these problems, many of which have their roots in history, Caritas staff member Matthew Papesch said we needed to draw on the wisdom of an intergenerational perspective from Te Ao Māori, other indigenous cultures, and the Catholic world view.
“Long-term intergenerational investment is required to overcome entrenched inequalities in employment, housing and the justice system,” he said.