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Social Assistance Chronology – a chronology of social assistance policy and programmes in New Zealand – 1844 to 2017

The Social Assistance Chronology has been developed and is maintained by Alex McKenzie, Principal Analyst at the Ministry of Social Development. It started out as an historical list of policy changes to the social security system. Over time it has expanded to include changes to social security benefits, war pensions, retirement pensions, taxation measures, family assistance, child welfare, housing, student support and labour market programmes.

It covers the period from 1844 to the present day and lists policy changes, legislation and key documents such as reports from Commissions of Inquiry and Ministerial Inquiries, government convened working parties, public discussion documents and Government policy statements. It also details administrative and service delivery arrangements. The source of the information is primarily files held by the Ministry of Social Development (including those of its predecessor organisations) papers held by the National Archives and historic legislation. Some of the material has also been obtained from secondary sources (published books and articles) while other material resulted from the author's own involvement in policy projects beginning in the 1990s.

The Social Assistance Chronology is not an official record of social assistance policy and programmes in New Zealand; rather it is a guide from which researchers can progress to primary sources of information (legislation, departmental publications, Cabinet submissions and government policy statements). While the chronology is undoubtedly incomplete and may contain some inaccuracies and omissions (particularly for the earlier period), it is intended only as a quick reference or starting point for those who are researching or who have an interest in the growth and development of social assistance programmes in New Zealand. It was intended that the chronology would simply record changes and developments in social assistance programmes and that it would not attempt to interpret or make judgements about specific policy changes. In some places, however, the chronology may have gone beyond this and any interpretation or judgement remains solely that of the author.

The Social Assistance Chronology was launched at the same time as the Ministry of Social Development history Social Developments. To assist the researcher, we have broken the chronology up into historical eras that broadly align with the chapters in Social Developments. It is important to note, however, that the Chronology has a much broader ambit than Social Developments. The focus of the Chronology is on social assistance policies and programmes. Many of these programmes are not delivered by the Ministry of Social Development.

The Ministry of Social Development intends to update the Social Assistance Chronology to record future developments in social assistance programmes and to correct errors or omissions. Suggested corrections and additions can be forwarded to alex.mckenzie001@msd.govt.nz.

Alex McKenzie (author)

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Documents

Social Assistance Chronology – a chronology of social assistance policy and programmes in New Zealand – 1844 to 2017

Apr 2017

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