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Information releases

Listed here, by topic, are documents that have been released proactively by MSD.

We have released these documents proactively because they are in high demand, or we expect that they will be in high demand.


MSD Reports

Youth Service Review 2018/19

These documents outline findings and recommendations from the Youth Service Review, undertaken in 2018/2019. This involved extensive consultation with over 1,250 young people, and external and internal stakeholders.

Independent assessment highlights MSD’s focus on early fraud intervention and prevention

An independent assessment commissioned by the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) into its fraud practices has shown the Ministry is headed in the right direction in its overall approach to fraud.


Latest Cabinet papers

Extending the COVID-19 New Zealanders Stranded Overseas Support Programme

These documents seek ministerial agreement to extend the New Zealanders Stranded Overseas Support Programme for six months to 27 April 2021.

Social Security (COVID-19 - Childcare Assistance) Amendment Regulations 2020

The Cabinet paper sought approval for the Social Security (COVID-19 - Childcare Assistance) Amendment Regulations 2020 (the Amendment Regulations) to be submitted to Executive Council. The change enacted via the Amendment Regulations will ensure that funding levels for early learning and Out of School Care and Recreation (OSCAR) services will be maintained throughout the COVID-19 Alert Levels, by allowing the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) to continue to pay Childcare Assistance.

The Cabinet Minute of Decision agreed to maintain these funding levels and to amend the Social Security Regulations 2018 to allow this.

Ministry of Social Development IT Build (oral item)

The Minister for Social Development provided oral advice that the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) needed to commence an IT build which would enable it to:

  • defer all Temporary Additional Support reapplications, which normally are required every 13 weeks
  • extend out 52-week benefit reapplications to 104 weeks.

These measures were in response to the impact of COVID-19.

Annual General Adjustment 2020 and Related Regulatory Changes and Social Security (Rates of Benefits and Allowances) Amendment Order

Every year, most of the Ministry of Social Development’s rates and thresholds are adjusted to account for inflation. In order to change these rates and thresholds, amendments to legislation are required.

2020 is the first year that main benefits were adjusted in line with increases in the net average wage instead of the Consumers Price Index. This is also the first of four years that income abatement thresholds will be increased in line with movement in the minimum wage.

Workforce Planning for all Social Workers: Social Workers Registration Board as Lead Agency

These documents outline different stages of advice provided around workforce planning for all social workers in New Zealand. Currently, there is no mechanism for workforce planning for all social workers. Instead, social workers are fragmented across the community. Cabinet has designated the Social Workers Registration Board as the lead agency to provide and support workforce planning for all social workers.

The Future of Social Sector Commissioning

On 29 July 2020 the Cabinet Social Wellbeing Committee considered a progress update on the work to improve the commissioning of social services through third party providers.

The ongoing operation and impact of the Leave Support Scheme

These papers provide an update to the Ministers on the ongoing operation and impact of the Leave Support Scheme.

Proposed Policy Changes to the New Zealand Superannuation and Veteran's Pension Legislation Amendment Bill

In February 2020, the Minister for Social Development sought Cabinet agreement to three policy changes, for inclusion in the New Zealand Superannuation and Veteran’s Pension Legislation Amendment Bill.

Cabinet gave approval for Cabinet Social Wellbeing Committee to have power to act on the paper, so that the agreed changes could be included in the Ministry of Social Development’s supplementary departmental report on the Bill.

Welfare Overhaul: Removing the Subsequent Child Policy

Cabinet agreed to remove the additional dependent child policy (commonly known as the subsequent child policy) from the Social Security Act 2018. This policy currently impacts eligibility for Sole Parent Support and places obligations on parents to return to work earlier if they have an additional child while receiving a main benefit.

Student Allowances (Christchurch Mosques Attack) Amendment Regulations 2020

This Cabinet Legislation paper relates to the Minister of Education’s decision to make it easier for students affected by the Christchurch Mosque Attacks to pursue their tertiary education and career goals. These documents will also be released on the Ministry of Education website.

Shape of the Children's Commission and Oranga Tamariki System Oversight Legislation

In March 2019, Cabinet agreed to have an overarching Act that brings three oversight functions; advocacy for all New Zealand tamariki and rangatahi, investigation of complaints in the Oranga Tamariki system, and independent monitoring of the Oranga Tamariki system. The proposed overarching Act would require the repeal of the Children’s Commissioner Act 2003 (which forms the advocacy branch of the oversight functions). This release shows Cabinet’s decision to rescind the repeal of the Children’s Commissioner Act 2003 and instead review its content, following consultation with key stakeholders.

Placed-Based Initiatives - Evaluation Findings and Long Term Funding

The Cabinet paper provided an overview of the independent evaluation of the Place-Based Initiatives (PBIs) and reported on their progress, and in view of the positive evaluation findings sought Cabinet agreement to:

  • bring the $5 million per year PBI tagged contingency into the Ministry of Social Development baseline, and
  • extend core operational funding to the two existing PBIs, South Auckland Social Wellbeing Board and Manaaki Tairāwhiti, for a further two years to 30 June 2022.

Working Matters: Report back on the Disability Employment Action Plan

These documents seek ministerial agreement to the Working Matters Action Plan.

Framework to accelerate progress towards accessibility in Aotearoa New Zealand

This Cabinet paper notes the Minister for Disability Issues’ intended policy approach to accelerate accessibility in Aotearoa New Zealand – a new legislative framework to act as a vehicle for progressive implementation of accessibility over time. The proposed legislative framework will focus on the prevention and removal of barriers to ensure disabled people can participate and access the same opportunities on an equal basis with others. It will provide mechanisms for a policy work programme, including standards development within domains of accessibility; education and awareness raising; and reporting, monitoring and compliance functions. The paper sought and received Cabinet’s agreement to officials progressing further work on the detailed aspects of the legislative framework.

Oral Item: Wage Subsidy Employer Survey

This Oral Item was presented on the Wage Subsidy Employer Survey by Hon Carmel Sepuloni, Minister for Social Development. A report was provided to support the Oral Item. This report was an update on the findings from a survey of businesses receiving the Government Wage Subsidy that was run to understand the impact of COVID-19 and the Wage Subsidy scheme on businesses.

Oral Item - New Zealand Superannuation and Veteran's Pension Legislation Amendment Bill: Proposed Delay

The aide-mémoire of 20 May 2020 provided advice for Minister Sepuloni’s meeting on 27 May 2020 with the Cabinet Social Wellbeing Committee regarding her plans to table a Supplementary Order Paper in the House to delay the commencement of the New Zealand Superannuation and Veteran’s Pension Legislation Amendment Bill (the Bill). Cabinet agreed to delay the date of implementation of the Bill from 1 July 2020 to 9 November 2020, as detailed in the Minute of Decision – SWC-20-MIN-0056. The Ministry of Social Development published news of the delay following the Cabinet committee decision.

Cabinet item: Adjustment to the Residential Care Subsidy as part of the Annual General Adjustment 2020, approved for publication

The Cabinet paper seeks Cabinet agreement to the new asset thresholds and income-from-asset exemption for the Residential Care Subsidy, effective 1 July 2020. This represents a routine yearly process whereby asset thresholds and the income-from-assets exemption for the Residential Care Subsidy are increased in line with the percentage increase of the Consumers Price Index.

Oral Item: Childcare for Essential Workers

The Oral Item was presented by Hon Carmel Sepuloni, Minister for Social Development, which noted that funding for in-home childcare for OSCAR providers would be discontinued (as of 8 May 2020).

Social Security (Emergency Housing and Transitional Housing) Amendment Regulations 2020

The Emergency Housing Special Needs Grants (EH SNG) policy changes introduce an emergency housing contribution made by clients granted an EH SNG and provide MSD the discretion to extend the duration of some EH SNGs in specified circumstances.

Oral Item: Employer Survey

This Oral Item was presented on the Employer Survey by Hon Carmel Sepuloni, Minister for Social Development. No papers were provided to support the Oral Item. The Employer Survey Oral Item was an update about the upcoming survey of COVID-19 wage subsidy recipients.

Permanent Exemption to Social Security Income and Cash-Asset Testing for Financial Donations to those Affected by the Christchurch Mosque Attacks

Cabinet has agreed to permanently extend the exemption from income and cash-asset tests for social assistance applying to financial gifts and donations made to people affected by the Christchurch mosques attacks. This decision reflects the unprecedented nature of the attacks, and the exceptional circumstances of those affected.

Temporary Accommodation Assistance (Canterbury Earthquake) and Transitional Assistance Payment for Budget 2019 Income Support Package

Cabinet has agreed to grand-parent entitlement to the Temporary Accommodation Assistance (Canterbury Earthquake) Programme (TAA), and to establish a Transitional Assistance Payment (TAP) for the Budget 2019 Income Support.

Clarification of Policy Matters to Support the Oversight of the Oranga Tamariki System and Children's Commission Legislation

In December 2019, Cabinet made further decisions to support the development of the Oversight of the Oranga Tamariki System and Children’s Commission Legislation Bill. The proactive release of the Cabinet paper and associated minutes show what these decisions are and help to shape the ongoing development of the Bill.

A Wage Supplement Approach to Replace Minimum Wage Exemption Permits: Report Back

The papers released provide an update to Cabinet on the design of a wage supplement approach to replace minimum wage exemption permits, following consultation with the disability sector.

Mahi Aroha Carers' Strategy Action Plan 2019-2023

The Cabinet paper Mahi Aroha: Carers’ Strategy Action Plan 2019-2023 sought Cabinet approval to release the public document Mahi Aroha: Carers’ Strategy Action Plan 2019-2023. Mahi Aroha is the third cross agency Action Plan under the Carers’ Strategy and outlines the Government’s plans to improve the wellbeing of carers.

Welfare Overhaul: Update on Progress and Long-Term Plan

A commitment to overhaul the welfare system is part of the New Zealand Labour Party’s Confidence and Supply Agreement with the Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand. On 11 November 2019 Cabinet made decisions on the plan for the welfare overhaul work programme.

Amendment to Social Security Regulations to Allow for Changes to Cohort Entry Policy

The papers released detail amendments to the Social Security Regulations 2018 which change the eligibility criteria for the Childcare Subsidy and the Out of School Care and Recreation Subsidy in response to a recent change in cohort entry policy.

Agreement on Social Security between the Government of The Republic of Korea and the Government of New Zealand: Approval for signature

These papers provide a background to the social security agreement between New Zealand and the Republic of Korea and confirm Cabinet’s approval to sign the agreement. New Zealand and Korea signed the social security agreement in October 2019.

New Zealand Superannuation and Veteran's Pension Legislation Amendment Bill

Cabinet agreed the introduction of a Bill to put the ‘New Zealand Superannuation and Veteran’s Pension: Modernisation and Simplification’ package into effect. This incorporates minor changes agreed by the Minister for Social Development prior to Cabinet.

Disability Employment Action Plan

The Draft Disability Employment Action Plan Package contains documents relating to the release of the Government’s draft Disability Employment Action Plan. The Cabinet paper outlines the background to the draft Action Plan and seeks Cabinet agreement to engage in consultation to inform a final version of the Action Plan.

Oral Item: Engagement on the Youth Plan

The Oral Item was presented by Hon Carmel Sepuloni, on behalf of Hon Peeni Henare, Minister for Youth. The Oral Item outlined the plan to conduct informal engagement for the Youth Plan.

Better Later Life - He Oranga Kaumatua 2019 to 2034 Strategy

In March 2019, the Cabinet Social Wellbeing Committee agreed to the release of the draft strategy for New Zealand’s ageing population for a second phase of public consultation.

Changes to Income and Cash Assets Regulations – Exempting Lump-Sum Payments made by the Ministry of Social Development

Cabinet has agreed to amend the Social Security Regulations 2018 and the Residential Care and Disability Support Services Regulations 2018 so that payments made by the Ministry of Social Development are exempt from income and cash assets tests for eligibility to access specified forms of government financial assistance.

Oral Item: Te Hiku Update

This Oral Item was presented on the Te Hiku Iwi Crown Accord by Hon Kelvin Davis, Minister for Māori Crown Relations: Te Arawhiti. No papers were provided to support the Oral Item. The Te Hiku Oral Item was an update about the Taumata Rangatira Hui that took place between Te Hiku Iwi and Crown Ministers on 8 August 2019.

July 2019 Employment Campaign Update

This Oral Item was to discuss the Ministry of Social Development’s new monthly Employment Campaign Update, which provides insights, updates and anecdotes from MSD’s employment programme.

Mana in Mahi - Strength in Work

Cabinet have agreed that the eligibility criteria for Phase Two of Mana in Mahi – Strength in Work is expanded, and that the programme (currently available to people on a main benefit) is provided for people who are ‘at-risk’ of long-term benefit receipt, including some people who are not currently receiving a main benefit.

Changes to Hardship Assistance Access Requirements for People in Need

The Changes to Hardship Assistance Access Requirements Package contains documents relating to decisions around requiring people who have received three or more grants of hardship assistance within 12 months to complete a compulsory budgeting activity before they are able to receive further hardship assistance.

Accelerating Accessibility Policy Work Programme - Interim Update

Cabinet decisions on progress of the policy work programme to achieve a fully accessible New Zealand.

Changes to the Exemption for Ex Gratia and Compensation Payments

Cabinet has agreed to amend the Social Security Regulations 2018 and the Residential Care and Disability Support Services Regulations 2018 to extend the exemption for ex gratia and compensation payments in recognition of harm to defined New Zealand-based non-Crown entities and remove the 12-month time limit to create a permanent exemption.

Consultation on the proposed New Zealand Carers' Strategy Action Plan for 2019 to 2023

This Cabinet paper seeks agreement to publicly consult on the draft Carers’ Strategy Action Plan 2019 – 2023.

Social Assistance Legislation (Budget 2019 Welfare Package) Amendment Bill

We have released the Cabinet material relating to the Government’s Welfare Package as part of Budget 2019.


Reports to the Minister for Social Development

Each month we publish the titles of all the reports that the Ministry of Social Development provided to the Minister for Social Development and the Minister for Disability Issues.


Reports to Parliament

These are reports to the House of Representatives made under s92K of the Human Rights Act 1993

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