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Working with our partners and stakeholders

03 December 2019.

Partnership aims to free people from problem debt

Helping New Zealanders to thrive financially – free from problem debt – is the vision of the new Safer Credit and Financial Inclusion Strategy.

The strategy has been developed through a partnership between MSD, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, Te Puni Kōkiri, the financial services industry and community finance organisations.

Too many low-income New Zealanders have little choice but to take out high-interest loans that are unaffordable and unsustainable, often to meet their everyday needs. For many people, this creates problems of debt and hardship.

The strategy sets out how government, financial services industry and community organisations will work together to help people and whānau meet their needs and achieve their aspirations, free from problem debt.

Shared goals include:

  • People and whānau have clear pathways to access financial and non-financial products, services and support that are affordable and appropriate.
  • Government, financial services and community sectors collaborate to develop and deliver inclusive and innovative products, services and support.
  • A responsive and accountable financial services system that understands, supports and responds to the needs and best interests of customers in hardship or vulnerable circumstances, and that operates within the law.

Speaking at the launch of the strategy, Lezanne Gibbs from the Commerce Commission said she saw a “real generosity and willingness” from the organisations involved, while Olivia Bouchier of the New Zealand Bankers’ Association said the strategy had brought about a closer connection between banks and NGOs.

Marking the launch of the strategy - small

Caption: Marking the launch of the strategy are (from left) Mark Henderson, General Manager, Safe Strong Families and Communities at MSD, Brent Chalmers from Westpac, Fleur Howard from Good Shepherd NZ and James Hartley from MBIE.

Update on strengthening oversight of Oranga Tamariki system

Independent Children’s Monitor

The Independent Children’s Monitor (ICM) – which has been set up to strengthen the oversight of the Oranga Tamariki system – has been working closely over the last few months with the agencies it is currently monitoring.

These agencies are:

  • Oranga Tamariki
  • Open Home Foundation
  • Barnardos
  • Dingwall Trust (the current agencies with custody of children in their own right).

“We are currently working on our first report to the Minister, which will cover abuse or neglect of children in care or custody under Regulations 69 and 85 of the National Care Standards Regulations,” says Melissa Gill, Executive Director of ICM. “This is likely to be released early in 2020 and will be available on our website.”

Website due to launch

As part of our engagement approach we will be launching the ICM website this month. This will be the central place for you to see what engagement opportunities ICM is planning in the New Year and keep you informed around reports and updates on the ICM’s work along with changes to legislation to strengthen oversight of the Oranga Tamariki system.

You can subscribe to updates when the website goes live. If you are interested in subscribing before the website goes live please email

This link will go live in December so bookmark it now.

Whanganui community partnerships working for locals

Partnerships are key to ensuring people get the help they need.

"The Whanganui Social Services Network is one way to ensure people working in government agencies and non-government organisations are linked in with each other," says MSD’s Whanganui Service Centre Manager Maree Anderson.

MSD contributes to building close working relationships by hosting a monthly meeting with local social service providers to update each other on their organisation’s mahi, identify challenges and develop solutions for local people in need.

“This forum has been in place for over 20 years now and it’s great because the people who attend are those who are delivering services for their organisation at the ‘coal face’ working directly with the people who need those services,” says Maree.

One of the network members is the Whanganui City Mission. In October, the Mission, in conjunction with the Rotary Club of Wanganui North, held its annual food drive and volunteers have been busy sorting donated goods.

With Christmas on the horizon, staff from MSD’s Whanganui Service Centre also held an in-house food drive. As a result, Maree took boxes of food and other goods to the City Mission, along with a sum of money donated by the MSD team.

“Half of the referrals for food we get are from other community agencies,” says City Mission Manager Karrie Brown. “Because we are all working towards the same goals, it is good that all of the groups here are working together.”

Maree agrees. “If any one of us is working with a person or their whānau and identify they have other needs which we know one of our partners can help, with the client’s consent, we get in touch straightaway,” she says. “Working together in this way can help resolve things much earlier and prevent an issue getting bigger and more overwhelming for people.”

Maree says the staff at MSD enjoy getting involved in community charitable activities such as these. “Not just at Christmas but all year round.”

City Mission and MSD Whanganui

Caption: Maree (left) with Karrie (centre) and Angela in City Mission Whanganui’s Foodbank.

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