Cover photo of Social Policy Journal


This is the tenth issue of the Social Policy Journal of New Zealand, and there is something about round numbers that invites consideration of the bigger picture. Where does the journal sit in the wider policy arena? I think it has found a niche for itself among both writers and readers: there has been no shortage of very fine papers submitted on a regular basis and circulation is steadily increasing. Perhaps one reason for this is that the coverage of topics is very wide – across the journal issues there has generally been something for everybody. And the perspectives have been reasonably broad-based as well, with contributions from the community and private sector, as well as academia and representatives of the various government agencies. The journal aims to fill a unique space in New Zealand publishing – of strongly policy-oriented thinking and research on social issues – and I hope we have met with some measure of success.

I can say that the tenth issue fits into this space very well. In the research section, for example, David Fergusson overviews the findings and implications for social policy of his 21-years study of a cohort of Christchurch births. Gabrielle Maxwell and Janis Carroll-Lind also look at the young, focusing on their perceptions of the violence in their lives, including loss, abuse and witnessed violence.

Paul Callister's paper is an analysis of recent employment patterns among "work-rich" and "work-poor" individuals and families. Readers who find it interesting will be pleased to know they can expect a sequel in the next issue of the journal, which will take the analysis to the level of households and communities. Kay Goodger examines the key issues over the years surrounding the support of sole parents, in her review of the history of government policy from its early development to very recent policy changes. Again, readers may anticipate a sequel in future, one which will focus on trends in the use of sole parent benefits.

Among the policy papers, Charles Waldegrave outlines his proposal for sustainable social protection and social well-being which addresses the issue of job creation. David Preston critiques papers in the last issue on proposals for a universal basic income and its underlying philosophy, and the authors, Keith Rankin and Michael Goldsmith, each respond. On a very practical level, Judy McGregor and David Tweed's study of small businesses is mined for information on how some ex-beneficiaries have moved into self-employment.

The processes by which policy is created are addressed in two papers. One, by Alison McDonald on the use of task forces, draws on her experience with the Task Force on Positive Ageing, while the other, by Derek Wallace, argues for a more transparent approach to consultation and policy writing. Raewyn Good, too, considers the behind-scene processes of social policy, as she reflects on the relative "invisibility" of government-based and other non-academic researches in MoRST's "stocktake" of the social sciences.

Several papers are devoted to particular policy areas. Judith Davey looks at the influence of public policy on patterns of home ownership and inheritance in New Zealand. She explores the possible implications of requiring older people to transfer housing wealth into income for their own use rather than bequesting it to younger generations – particularly in terms of intergenerational equity. Sally Able and Sally Casswell examine New Zealand's cannabis policy, covering the international context, local pressures and its likely future. Mike Webb discusses the options for dealing with a newer and trendier substance – Ecstasy. Ted Ninnes evaluates a local anti-graffiti programme.

Finally, Ross Mackay provides a bi-focal view, as both participant and organiser, of the 2nd ISSA International Research Conference on Social Security held in Jerusalem in January.

All in all, I believe this will prove to be another issue with something of interest for everyone. As always, I invite readers to respond to papers in the journal, as inspiring informed debate and providing a forum for thoughtful discussion is our ultimate goal.

Elizabeth Rowe
General Manager

Cover photo of Social Policy Journal


Social Policy Journal of New Zealand: Issue 10

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