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Why Social Cohesion? - Social Cohesion Consultation

The Ministry of Social Development (MSD) is leading a programme of work on strengthening social cohesion in Aotearoa New Zealand. In a cohesive society, all people need to share a sense of belonging, inclusion, participation and legitimacy. It’s about how we are, together. The Royal Commission of Inquiry into the terrorist attack on Christchurch masjidain on 15 March 2019 report Ko tō tātou kāinga tēnei (RCOI) made a number of recommendations to improve social cohesion. Cabinet agreed that MSD should talk with communities to develop three things:

What social cohesion looks like

  • a strategic framework based on a shared understanding of social cohesion. It is focused on what unites us as people in Aotearoa New Zealand, while valuing diversity and taking real steps to become an inclusive society
  • a measurement framework so we know if we are making progress. Getting the right data and information to know whether policies and programmes are working as intended to improve social cohesion.

What Government can do about it

  • things the Government can do that you can see in the short, medium and long-term to improve social cohesion

How everyone can play a part

  • ways to support and enable activity in communities, the business and cultural sectors, and local and central government to improve social cohesion.

Together, these things can help us to make a long-lasting difference that people can see in their lives. They will help hold Government accountable for taking the action that people in Aotearoa New Zealand want to see.

Setting the scene

Infographic of setting the scene. A text alternative follows.

The Ministry of Social Development is working on three things to help social cohesion in Aotearoa/New Zealand.

Strategic framework

Based on a shared understanding of social cohesion.

Tangible government actions

Over the short, medium and long term.

Take action

Identify how to support sectors and communities to take action. For example, social inclusion in the workplace.

How MSD got here

Since early 2021, MSD’s Social Cohesion team has worked on our social cohesion approach, what government can do about it and how everyone can play a part, collaborating with a range of people and communities, including you. We have:

  • asked the public what they think (June to October 2021): 30 hui/meetings and 341 responses received online and through email
  • talked with key people and communities and listened to their feedback (September to November 2021)
  • listened to Māori, (ongoing): three completed online hui/meetings in December with participants from Pōneke/Wellington, Rotorua, Ōtautahi/Christchurch and Ōtepoti/Dunedin. More upcoming hui/meetings are scheduled in February 2022
  • worked together with around 50 community representatives, who make up the Social Cohesion Working Group, through a series of two-day wānanga/workshops (September 2021 -March 2022).

When the Social Cohesion team first talked with the public about social cohesion, they asked four questions:

  • What does social cohesion mean to you and what would Aotearoa New Zealand look like if social cohesion was improved?
  • How will we know if we are making progress? What does success look like?
  • What are the ways that social cohesion can be strengthened?
  • What actions can government take or support to build better social cohesion, and who could be involved in the work?
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