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Creating A Policy Context For Social Development

A social development approach to social policy which identifies a 'good society' and encourages sound social investment is outlined in a paper released today, said the Minister of Social Services and Employment Steve Maharey.

The Ministry of Social Policy report, The Social Development Approach, is a companion paper to Treasury papers released last week by Finance Minister Michael Cullen. It provides a high level basis for further strategic social policy work by the Ministry and the new Ministry of Social Development.

Mr Maharey said one of the key tasks he set for the Ministry of Social Policy was to develop a conceptual framework to assess cross-sectoral social policy Government initiatives.

“The Government is committed to building an innovative economy and a sustainable approach which provides the means of linking key economic, social and environmental policy directions.

“The aim of this paper is to ensure that the development of social policy in the future considers the impact of proposals on all major dimensions of wellbeing, and is fully informed by evidence about the causes, and effects, of policy.

“It proposes that social policy should focus on ensuring that all people have the opportunities to participate and belong within society, paying particular attention to those who might be excluded.

“As well as reducing poverty, this requires work to eliminate other aspects of exclusion such as unemployment, or educational failure.

“For social development to truly succeed requires recognition that social and economic policy interact with each other, so should be considered together.

“A strong growing economy is a necessary precondition for jobs, increasing wealth and the funding of social services. But good social outcomes such as improved health and high levels of knowledge and skills are important for economic growth.

“Unemployment, poverty, criminal victimisation, poor health and housing are not just unjust – they are also likely to damage the future productive potential of our country.

“There are a number of areas where social assistance programmes, justice, health and education working together can simultaneously improve both economic and social outcomes.”

The Social Development Approach was developed by the Ministry of Social Policy in close coordination with other government agencies work, including that of the Treasury on an inclusive economy released last week, and other work underway in the Ministry of Economic Development and elsewhere on sustainable development. It is also closely tied to the new approach to social security for working age New Zealanders outlined in the recent Government statement Pathways to Opportunity.

A Social Development Approach can be viewed on the Ministry of Social Policy website at www.mosp.govt.nz.

Ends

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