A motion was passed that requires Synod to write to the Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, requesting that they implement the recommendations of the Welfare Expert Advisory Group. Rev Charles Waldegrave proposed the motion, and in his explanatory notes, he wrote: “Implementing the WEAG Report would decrease inequality and improve the lives of a quarter of New Zealand’s children substantially and many adults living below the poverty threshold.”
In May 2018, the Government established the Group to provide advice on the future of New Zealand’s welfare system. Their report, Whakamana Tāngata – Restoring Dignity to Social Security in New Zealand, is available on their website here. Rev Charles Waldegrave is a Co-Vicar at St Peter’s on Willis in Wellington and a kaumatua of Family Centre in Lower Hutt, and was also a member of the Welfare Advisory Group. He explained to Synod: “The report… sets out findings that are robust and rigorous, based on evidence and research from NZ and overseas as well as the experiences of people supported by and working in the social security system.”
Some discussion was held, in which it was suggested that the report endorsed a number of policies which are subject to disagreement in our politically diverse church. Members against the motion felt that it was unreasonable for Synod to claim that the report represents our views, and thus the motion should not be supported.
After the discussion, a vote was held and the motion was carried.