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Kotahitanga - Working with our partners and stakeholders

01 October 2019.

Unique grass-roots approach to addressing hardship

Minister launching The Generator

A unique, grass-roots approach to addressing financial hardship in New Zealand’s vulnerable communities was launched by Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni (pictured) at Fale o Samoa in Auckland last month.

The Generator is funded by MSD and delivered through a partnership between Vaka Tautua and Emerge Aotearoa. The Ministry has committed four years of annual seed funding of $700,000 to the programme, which applicants can apply for through an online platform.

Minister Sepuloni said The Generator empowers people to pursue their dreams and apply their talents to create a better financial future for themselves, their whānau and their communities.

Projects already underway using seed funding from The Generator include the Sourbros Bakery in Whanganui, a dance company, arts and craft making, nail and hair salons, and teaching chess in Gisborne schools.

The Generator is a nationwide initiative currently active in Auckland, North Waikato, Porirua, Whanganui and Tairawhiti/Gisborne. The community-based nature of The Generator means it can harness potential that’s already alive and well in select communities, tapping into unique strengths and talents that allow people to move towards sustainable enterprises and positive financial outcomes.

Anecdotal feedback received from people who qualified for seed funding and who have started their small business ideas has been positive, with many indicating it’s given them confidence to turn things around, for example:

“You realise there are genuine people who want to see you succeed”, and “With your korero and the Generator project I was able to look up and look forward and dream again… refocus on my goals.”

The Generator concept is also attracting attention and support from other areas, recently receiving a welcome $300,000 from Westpac NZ’s Innovation Fund.

Watch Minister Sepuloni interview Generator recipients at the launch

Find out more about The Generator

Pacific Prosperity – strategy and action plan

Pacific Prosperity steering and refs groups

Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni with the steering and reference groups.

After a year-long talanoa process across Aotearoa of meaningful conversations with our Pacific peoples, families and communities, we will be launching our Pacific strategy and action plan – Pacific Prosperity – Our People, Our Solutions, Our Future, this month.

We recently completed the final phase of consultation through an online survey in eight Pacific languages and English. The main aim of the survey was to find out whether the strategy resonated with Pacific peoples, families and communities.

The overall response to our request for feedback was tremendous with just over 4,000 people completing the online survey.

The journey to develop the strategy has been an inspired one, informed by a broad range of internal and external Pacific stakeholders.

What we’ve learned from our various engagements has only served to strengthen the need for a Pacific strategy and action plan in support of MSD’s strategic direction Te Pae Tawhiti and driven by our three key shifts of Mana Manaaki, Kotahitanga and Kia Takatū Tātou.

The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive and encouraging.

Pacific Prosperity image

Pacific Prosperity has been updated to ensure the key themes from the survey have been included. We’re now in the closing stages of finalising the strategy.

Apply to join our new Community Advisory Group

Community advisory group image

We want to improve the way we work with community service providers to achieve our shared outcomes.

This is part of a cross-agency activity led by MSD and Oranga Tamariki aimed at growing and supporting a successful social services and community sector. This is focusing in particular on how we can grow better outcomes from better commissioning.

We’re looking for up to 12 people to join a new Community Advisory Group which will give communities a voice and opportunity to input into this work.

We’re looking for people from diverse backgrounds, who are able to share perspectives from their community and/or provide an NGO viewpoint. The Community Advisory Group will have four one-day meetings between October 2019 and August 2020, when the group’s work will finish.

Members will be paid a fee to participate. Anyone interested in being considered for this group is asked to send an email with responses to the two questions below to Community_Information_CPP@msd.govt.nz by 9am on Monday 14 October 2019.

  • Why do you want to be involved with this group? (200 word limit)
  • What skills and experience can you offer to the group? (400 word limit)

In addition, you may wish to provide us with your CV or LinkedIn profile, but please note this is not required. You may also send us a video to a maximum size of 4MB answering the above questions. If you have any queries about the process, function of the group or what’s involved, please email us at Community_Information_CPP@msd.govt.nz

Safe borrowing schemes launched in New Plymouth

Safe borrowing scheme

Pictured at the launch are (from left) Karl Foreman and Christine Foreman (Salvation Army New Plymouth), Kelly Kemp (MSD Service Centre Manager New Plymouth), Wendy Bryant Community Finance Worker (Salvation Army) and Gail Bennett (MSD Community Liaison Advisor).

The first StepUP and No Interest Loan Scheme (NILS) Community Finance service in the Taranaki, King Country, Whanganui Region was recently launched in New Plymouth.

The Community Finance initiative aims to help people in financial hardship to borrow safely. It is already available in 15 other locations around New Zealand. It is a collaborative partnership between the BNZ, Salvation Army, Good Shepherd New Zealand and MSD.

More than 60 people from community groups and government agencies attended the launch of the new service in New Plymouth.

In its first five years, Community Finance has loaned nearly $5 million to over 1,700 families with an estimated savings of $2.46 million in interest and fees.

The initiative helps steer vulnerable people away from high interest lenders including mobile traders offering products at high prices. Approved StepUp and NILS loans are paid directly to service providers or retail outlets. Help can be provided with costs such as car repair or purchase to provide transport to employment, or being able to travel and access health and other essential services.

It also aims to help prevent people taking on further debt. An example of a how a StepUP loan works is for a person to borrow the maximum amount available of $5,000 at a maximum interest rate of 6.99 percent interest. It would then be repayable within 36 months at a manageable $38-76 a week. NILS loans are available up to $1,500. StepUp is managed by a Community Finance team at BNZ and NILS is managed by a Salvation Army committee.

Community Finance workers stay in touch with clients to help keep them on track and where required, make referrals to other agencies and service providers for help that falls outside the StepUp or NILS scope.

In New Plymouth, the new Community Finance Worker at Salvation Army Wendy Bryant was previously an experienced budget advisor and mentor with the New Plymouth Budget Advisory Service. Wendy has long-standing relationships with MSD and other local support services.

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