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Issue 37 of the Social Policy Journal of New Zealand comprises research papers on a wide range of topics with implications for policy across the social sector.

Research relating to children is always of interest as policies increasingly focus on early interventions. The article by Janis Carroll-Lind, James Chapman and Juliana Raskauskas discusses the findings of a national survey of children’s perceptions of violence experienced or witnessed at home, school and in the community, including the extent to which they used violence in their own interpersonal relationships.

Three of the articles in this issue explore research relating to young people: the correlates of early pregnancy, a programme for long-term unemployed and the factors in youth offending. Dannette Marie, David M. Fergusson and Joseph M. Boden report on findings from the longitudinal Christchurch Health and Development Study on the associations between ethnic identity and pregnancy/parenthood by age 20.

Robert Maxwell’s article is about the outcomes of a programme called Limited Service Volunteers run by the Army at Burnham Military Camp that provides motivational intervention for the unemployed. In the course of Alison Sutherland’s research, she spoke at length with serious young offenders about their perceptions of their school experience, concluding that schools might have a real opportunity to break off a young person’s trajectory towards youth offending by identifying it early on and intervening in a timely fashion.

Social policy, social capital and citizenship make up another theme for this issue. In an analysis of the Report of the Royal Commission on Social Policy, over two decades since its publication in 1988, Jo Barnes and the late Paul Harris find the document has had a significant impact on policy and debate in New Zealand. Louise Humpage reviews a 20-year span of New Zealanders’ attitudes towards social rights of citizenship, and finds evidence that – despite a period of neo-liberal reform and the current tendency to favour tax cuts over redistribution and wage controls – New Zealanders are not willing to sacrifice social spending on health, education and targeted social assistance.

In a paper that explores some similar ideas, Penelope Carroll, Sally Casswell, John Huakau, Philippa Howden-Chapman and Paul Perry look at public perceptions of poverty and inequality in New Zealand, how these ideas influence what kinds of assistance they are willing to spend their tax money on, and the implications of this for health and social outcomes. Kaylene Sampson, Colin Goodrich and Ruth McManus study the significant changes affecting New Zealand’s rural economy and rural communities, and the buffering role of social capital. Their article focuses on the experiences of 12 families trying to resolve the dilemmas accompanying local industry change.

Health issues are addressed in two pieces of research. Annette Mortensen explores the situation of refugees in New Zealand, finding that they are prioritised to come here because of their high health and social needs, and that this is proving a challenge to health institutions. Gabriele Schäfer’s research explores the impact of alcohol and other drug addiction on families and communities through in-depth interviews with residents and ex-residents of a rehabilitation facility, finding painful and traumatic childhoods in their families-of-origin as well as disrupted current familial relationships.

Gerard Cotterell and Charles Crothers review the use of social indicators in New Zealand, focusing on the increased capacity and value to be found in recent developments. In an article addressing environmental issues, Karen Witten, John Huakau and Suzanne Mavoa discuss the findings of a travel survey, focusing on the implications of household travel for social purposes (visiting family and friends) and recreation – travel which is less amenable to the demand management strategies used in work and school settings

I hope you will agree with me that Issue 37 provides something of interest to everyone, and find this issue to be an enjoyable and stimulating read.

Sue Mackwell
Deputy Chief Executive
Social Sector Policy and Social Sector Strategy

Cover photo of Social Policy Journal


Social Policy Journal of New Zealand: Issue 37

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