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  • Writer's pictureCarol Barron

Social Services Report to MCNZ Conference 2023

The infographics below summarise the work undertaken by the 26 Methodist Alliance members around the motu in the year ending 30 June 2023.

We thank President Peter for his letter to the Prime Minister raising the issue of economic justice and specifically requesting abatement rates be indexed to the minimum adult wage and restored to the equivalent of 15 hours. The letter also asked to hear the Government’s plan to find new ways to redistribute wealth via the tax system to ensure our most vulnerable children/tamariki and their whānau are better supported. A lengthy response was received with a link to the progress the Government has made to date on the recommendations from the Welfare Expert Advisory Group.

One of our biggest achievements of the past year was the resource the Working Group Campaigning to Increase Benefit Level and Abatement Thresholds created and is available here. We have had a great response from many people around the Connexion in response to this resource.

This Working Group is partnering with ActionStation’s Fairer Futures network, a collaboration of anti-poverty to further this mahi.

Our report to Conference also included an update on the Methodist Church Housing Action Plan detailing the six social housing projects recommended to MCPC in the last year. Two applications to the Social Housing Fund were approved in the last year – one of these was CMM’s social housing project in Blenheim which will house six whānau – see photo below.

In addition to these social housing projects, the Methodist Alliance also recommended three other projects for approval by MCPC.


The Methodist Alliance made six submissions to Parliament in the past year which you can read here.

Tindall Foundation Funding

We are grateful for the continued support of the Tindall Foundation which provides seed funding for new initiatives for families and whānau. Grant funds are distributed in accordance with the Tindall Foundation priorities and criteria.

We share similar values and kaupapa with NZCCSS which makes this significant collaboration with other faith based organisations, an important part of the Methodist Alliance mahi. We have representatives on NZCCSS’ three policy groups: Children and Families; Equity and Inclusion, and Older People. NZCCSS has created an online resource Te Kōrero mō ngā Kaumātua to support the understanding of the context of older people in Aotearoa.

Along with NZCCSS, the Methodist Alliance, is particularly concerned about the wellbeing of older people in Aotearoa, especially those with few assets. A holistic view of older people is essential to ensure their physical, social, emotional and spiritual needs are met and they can live in dignity in their later life. Social isolation is becoming more prevalent in older people and exacerbated by the reliance of our society on technology. Those without the skills to adapt, or the income to pay for internet connection and associated hardware, are increasingly isolated. The closure of banks, post offices, etc. has also impacted this generation more significantly than others.

Support systems and services for older people are underfunded and under increasing strain. This is seen especially in the aged residential care sector where many churches have closed their aged care facilities due to underfunding and the workforce shortages of qualified staff. Funding of the residential aged care sector needs to be sustainable and at levels that meets the needs of the older people in care, and flexible enough to be able to tailor services to meet individual needs of kaumātua.

The Methodist Church had many residential care facilities around the motu, however now only four are solely run my Methodists - Everil Orr in Auckland; Tamahere Eventide & Atawhai Assisi in Hamilton; and WesleyCare in Christchurch. Our members provide other services to meet the changing needs of the growing cohort of our kaumātua.

The significant changes in society and the growing number of older people approaching retirement without assets is becoming an increasing concern reported by our member organisations. Some older people need to continue to work well past retirement age to meet their living costs as the level of Superannuation does not cover the costs of rent, food, power, etc. There is a nationwide need to develop more long-term, affordable housing options for elderly people with little or no savings.

Conference decisions made included:

  1. Conference commends the report from the New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services, Te Kōrero mō ngā Kaumātua; Exploring the context of Older People in Aoteoaroa New Zealand and asks the Methodist Alliance to highlight the issues raised in this report with Parishes, Synods, Hui Poari, Council of Conference and other relevant Connexional bodies.

  2. Conference requests the President in consultation with ecumenical Church Leaders to write to the Prime Minister and the Minister for Health requesting that Aged Residential Care be funded at a sustainable level so that high quality, affordable care is accessible to all New Zealanders.

  3. Conference requests the President in consultation with ecumenical Church Leaders writes to the Minister for Housing requesting that a specific Older Persons Housing Strategy be developed so that all older people, irrespective of their financial circumstances, are able to live in warm, dry and affordable homes.

  4. Conference agreed to change the priorities and criteria for the Social Housing Grants Fund as follows:

  • To include applications for construction of new social housing and affordable rental housing

  • The criteria for applications to “not exceed 25% of the amount held in the social housing fund at the time of the application” was removed.

This is my final blog as National Coordinator as my final day is 8th December 2023. it has been a great privilege to have served in this role. The work has been varied, challenging and absolutely rewarding.

Carol Barron, National Coordinator

03 375 0512 | 027 561 9164 |

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