The Ministry’s Policy branch comprises four groups: Community and Families Policy (including the Office for Disability Issues), Employment and Income Support, Seniors and International Policy (including the Office for Seniors), and Housing Policy.

Community and Families

The Community and Families policy group covers a broad range of areas, particularly those with a cross-sector or cross-agency dimension.

The group provides policy advice on:

  • communities
  • youth
  • people with disabilities
  • family violence
  • sexual violence.

The group co-ordinates the Ministry’s participation in wider social sector policy initiatives and supports work on cross-sector Auckland issues.

It leads social sector responses to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCROC), and is currently supporting amendments to the Social Worker Registration Act 2003. It is supporting a review of the independent oversight of the new children’s system, including the role of the Children’s Commissioner, and supporting the review of the New Zealand Carers’ Strategy.

The group includes the Office for Disability Issues, which is the focal point within government on disability issues. The Office supports implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) and the New Zealand Disability Strategy, and works directly with the Minister for Disability Issues.

Employment and Income Support

The Employment and Income Support policy group comprises three teams:

  • Youth Employment and Labour Market team: responsible for policy development and advice relating to labour market change and demand, and long term benefit dependency. The team focuses particularly on improving the education, employment and quality of life outcomes of disadvantaged young people.
  • Health and Disability Employment team: responsible for policy advice on addressing the barriers to employment faced by people with a health condition or disability. The team focuses on ensuring disabled people and people with health conditions are supported to obtain work and enjoy a higher quality of life.
  • Income Support team: responsible for producing policy advice on a range of topical income support issues. The team focuses on ensuring that the benefit system is fair and robust and improving financial incentives to work or prepare for work.

Seniors and International

The Seniors and International policy group comprises three teams:

  • The Office for Seniors works with the Minister for Seniors to improve outcomes for older people and to advocate for their issues. Its vision is for a society in which people can age positively, and older people are highly valued and recognised as an integral part of families and communities. Its work includes providing information and advice on the wellbeing of older people and issues that affect them. It has a central role of promoting, developing and disseminating resources on preventing elder abuse and neglect at a national level.
  • Seniors Policy: helps to secure and increase the wellbeing of older New Zealanders, present and future. It is responsible for policy development and advice on a range of retirement income and social policy issues relevant to seniors, including social isolation, elder abuse and neglect, workforce ageing and housing for older people. The team has specific policy responsibilities relating to New Zealand Superannuation, the Residential care subsidy, the SuperGold Card and enduring powers of attorney. It also has lead responsibility for the New Zealand Carers’ Strategy. It works with the Ministry’s Service Delivery Group to develop operational policy and improve services for seniors.
  • International Policy: responsible for maintaining existing and negotiating new social security agreements with other countries, and providing advice on the treatment of overseas pensions paid to New Zealand residents and the payment of New Zealand benefits to residents overseas. The team also provides advice and support in relation to overseas meetings, co-ordinates the programmes for visiting delegations from overseas and co-ordinates the Ministry’s engagement with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the United Nations.

Housing Policy

We provide advice to Ministers and other decision-makers about how to support people to access the housing and services they need. We help to shape the housing system in New Zealand and are focused on providing advice to better support those in need who are living in insecure housing/homeless, emergency and transitional housing, public housing, and those living in the private market who are receiving support through the Accommodation Supplement.

We work closely with our colleagues in the Ministry’s Housing and Service Delivery Groups to deliver this advice as well as with other agencies such as the Treasury, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and Housing New Zealand Corporation. We also work with a range of stakeholders including community housing providers, emergency housing providers, territorial local authorities and non-government organisations.