Vulnerability Report

NZCCSS is committed to giving priority to the poor and vulnerable members of our society. To this end our new Vulnerability Report, which commenced in mid 2009, will actively monitor the level of economic and social hardship experienced by a growing number of New Zealanders.

Each Vulnerability Report will provide the latest information we have been able to access from government agencies and from a range of community based organisations – both from our members and from others. It is intended that these snapshot quarterly reports will contribute to the development of compassionate policy responses.   

Vulnerability Report Issue 20, Janaury  2015

This report draws on feedback from our social service members and official data from government agencies to provide a snapshot of the levels of vulnerability and resilience that exist within relationships, family/whānau and communities. It is our hope the report will inform the development of compassionate policy responses that support all New Zealanders to build strong relationships with each other, and within their communities. Data included in this edition reflects qualitative feedback and official data collated in September 2014. Some December 2014 data has been included where available.  [Read more...]


Vulnerability Report Issue 19, September 2014

NZCCSS has a long history of delivering social services to older people in the community. These services span from informal local parish supports to more formalised home support services, residential services and retirement villages. The 19th Vulnerability Report draws on the knowledge, expertise and feedback from NZCCSS member organisations working with older people to explore how older people (65+) are faring in communities. Population ageing is a human and social achievement and reflects a combination of factors: improved living standards, advances in medicine, lower fertility, and a large group of ‘baby boomers’

Vulnerability Report Issue 18, April 2014


In 1993 church leaders united to produce a statement calling for a fairer society. They drew attention to what’s fair because of a deep concern across denominations about increased poverty and social distress following cuts to welfare benefits in April 1991. These principles of fairness were re-affirmed in 2011. Twenty-one years on there remains a deep concern about levels of poverty and social inequality in our communities. The theme of this report is barriers to a fairer New Zealand. It uses government data and community information to illustrate how the materially poor in our communities have been faring in the year to December 2013..

Vulnerability Report Issue 17, December 2013


In 1943 psychologist Abraham Maslow proposed a theory of human development based on a hierarchy of need – physiological, safety, love/belonging, esteem, self-actualisation. Seventy years on and, whilst theories of human development and motivation have evolved, the underlying premise of Maslow’s hierarchy remains valid - basic physiological needs must be met before we can develop to our potential. Feedback from Social Workers in Schools (SWIS) support Maslow’s premise - children flourish at school when they live in a secure healthy home, have access to nutritious food and are warm. Maslow’s theory is further supported when considered against a recent report released by Parliament’s Health Select Committee into improving child health outcomes. The report is all about health inequities in adulthood that stem from basic physiological needs not being met in early childhood.


 Vulnerability Report Issue 16, July 2013


This is the 4th Anniversary addition of the Vulnerabilty Report first published in July 2009.  Our first report used government data and community information to illustrate how our most vulnerable citizens had been faring since the 2008 recession.   Prior to Better Public Service collaboration no agency was collating data from multiple sources at this time.  There were gaps in publicly available information and much of the information was dated.  Four years on and this quarterly report has achieved its aim to track social impacts of economic policies on our communities.  The value of the report lying in its mix of official statistics from acress government agencies and real stories from our own social service providers.  For this quarter (March 2013) the story is one which sees a drop in the rate of unemployment from 6.7% to 6.2%.  Good news when looked at in isolation.....


Vulnerability Report Issue 15, Easter 2013


Where are the people? We have an increase in unemployment and a decrease in the number of people on benefits. If people are not getting jobs, and they are not getting benefits, then how do they get to eat? Where do they get to live? Welfare reforms in Aotearoa New Zealand are predicated on people being able to get jobs. Instead, people have left the labour force, the number of people employed has actually declined, and more people are looking for jobs.
  The 15th Vulnerability Report uses both government data and community information to illustrate how the materially poorest in our community have been faring in the year to December 2012. Some data from January and February 2013 has been included when available. 
[Read more...]

Vulnerability Report Issue 14, December 2012 



We have too many people chasing too few jobs, and welfare benefits and hardship grants are harder to obtain.  The stresses and strains hurt our families.  Our welfare system is failing to the the job it was intended for.  Rather than enabling people to participate and belong in our society, it is increasingly looking to Christian social services and others to pick up where it is leaving off.  The services are over-stretched, and increasingly cannot provide.
The fourteenth Vulnerability Report covers the trends expereienced in governmnet agencies and community based organisations in the third quarter of 2012.  Data since September has been included where possible.
[Read more...]


The Canterbury Report, December 2012


This Report is dedicated to the people of Canterbury. We have combined official data for the past two years with the experience of social agencies to provide a small picture of life for those who live there. We hope our work is useful for improving life for those who struggle. in some way. 

[Read more...]



Vulnerability Report Issue 13, July 2012


Our first Vulnerability Report in June 2009 used government data and community information to illustrate how the materially poorest had been faring over the previous year. This report shows what life is like three years on. Demands for food parcels and budgeting services appear to have eased in some places. However, demands for housing assistance, counselling and social work services have increased. Unemployment has remained fairly constant, and prices have moved very little, but more people seem to be finding their pay packet is too small, and access to a home appears increasingly problematic. Tightened rules from Housing New Zealand and tighter government policies around benefit renewals are leaving some people literally out in the cold.   [Read more...]



Vulnerability Report Issue 12, April 2012


Welfare reform, policies relating to vulnerable children, the Inquiry into the Wellbeing of Māori Children, and now an Inquiry into Preventing Child Abuse and Improving Children’s Health Outcomes provide part of the political context for this report.

Sales of state assets are looming. Industrial disputes illustrate people with the power have the clout, e.g. MFAT diplomatic staff protests have Minister McCully reportedly worrying about losing talented staff (Dominion Post 1/03/2011), however similar ministerial concern for Ports of Auckland workers engaged in a protracted struggle is absent.   [Read more...]


Vulnerability Report Issue 11, January 2012


“It would be awesome if [2011] was remembered for the beginnings of a movement that rises up to protest theincreasing income disparity” (Ruby Duncan, NZCCSS President)

The eleventh Vulnerability Report covers the trends experienced in government agencies and community based organisations in the third quarter of 2011. Data from October and November has been included when available. [Read more...]


Vulnerability Report Issue 10, September 2011


Where have all the people gone?

Numbers on many benefits have fallen, unemployment has remained the same. But many social services are busier than ever.  

One clue is life has got more expensive than ever, and poverty causes stress. Stress causes unhappiness in families. So it is not surprising services providing counselling and social work for families are particularly busy. Somehow, it’s the children who seem to reap the fallout and the effect goes something like this:

“Social workers in schools report increased stressors on families... 

Presbyterian Support Northern. [Read more...]


Auckland Vulnerability Report Issue 1, July 2011




The formation of the new Auckland  Council was heralded as a way of  maximising economic potential and of producing a strong and cohesive city that will be a powerhouse of the New Zealand economy. While it is true that a large proportion of New Zealand’s population and businesses are Auckland based, this does not just result in riches and prosperity for all. Auckland City also contains some of New Zealand’s most socially deprived and impoverished communities, families, whānau and individuals.





Vulnerability Report Issue 9, June 2011

INTRODUCTION:  Ehara taku toa i te toa takitahi, engari he toa takitini ke.
My strength does not come from me alone but also from others.

“It’s not just Māori who are on the wrong end of the statistics. There are plenty of other poor families and migrant families. It’s an intolerable reality that we have somehow learned to tolerate.”
(Tui Motu interview with Jim Moriarty about working with people at risk, May 2011)

Too many of our indigenous people and too many of our young people are struggling. Māori unemployment is 16.1% and youth
unemployment is 18.8%. Māori youth unemployment is 28.8%. Pākeha unemployment is just under 5%. [Read more...]


Vulnerability Report Issue 8, March 2011

INTRODUCTION: Looking after each other better

Whether it is our citizens unemployed, our children needing love and food, our whānau in Christchurch, or our fellow members of the human family in Japan; the last few months provide a clear illustration of how our wellbeing depends upon one another. We either look after each other, or we fall.

The eighth Vulnerability Report covers the last quarter of 2010 and explores the experiences and pressure points for both families and social service agencies. Data from Christian agencies who are members of the New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services (NZCCSS) is supplemented with data provided by other community based organisations and placed in the wider economic context. More recent data is included where possible.

[Read more...]




Vulnerability Report Issue 7, December 2010

INTRODUCTION: We had both a 100% increase in food parcels given out, and 100% in donations after the earthquake (Christchurch City Mission).

 However, other varieties of ‘food basket’ have not been so evenly shared.
 The seventh Vulnerability Report covers the trends experienced in government agencies and community based organisations in the third quarter of 2010. Data from October and November has been included when available.

UNEMPLOYMENT: Unequal impacts of unemployment

Unemployment fell during the September quarter, but not for everyone. The Household Labour Force Survey showed the overall decrease was due to a 15,000 fall in male unemployment. Meantime, female unemployment increased by 5,000. Māori unemployment increased, and Pasifika unemployment increased. Long term unemployment also increased. Over one in four Māori and Pasifika youth is unemployed.

[Read more...]



Vulnerability Report Issue 6, September 2010

INTRODUCTION: "There seems no sign of abatement in demand for our social services." (Napier Family Centre)

The sixth Vulnerability Report covers the trends experienced in government agencies and community based organisations in the
second quarter of 2010. Data from July and August has been included when available.

The economic recovery to date has been largely jobless and the latest figures show that unemployment increased in the second
quarter after an unexpected fall in the first quarter. For social service agencies and government agencies, this means that demand for services and financial support continues unabated.

[Read more...]



Vulnerability Report Issue 5, June 2010 

INTRODUCTION: Unemployment has dropped but it’s too early to celebrate.

The fifth Vulnerability Report covers the trends experienced by government agencies and community based organisations in the first quarter of 2010. Data from April and May has been included when available. 

Despite a surprising drop in the unemployment rate from 7.1% in the December 2009 quarter to 6% in the March 2010 quarter, almost all community based agencies were reporting a sustained high level of demand for their services.

[Read more...]


Vulnerability Report Issue 4, March 2010

While there are some early economic indications that the worst of the recession is over it is evident from the statistics outlined in this report that agencies are as busy as ever. It will be for some time before economic recovery helps to restore financial security and well being.

Recession impacts are very uneven – it is youth, Maori and Pacific peoples and benefit dependent households that are bearing the brunt.

[Read more...]


Vulnerability Report Issue 3, December 2009

While economists have declared that the technical recession is over this is not how it feels to the families that continue to approach social services agencies for help.

For agencies that contributed information for this report, demand for services has stayed either stable (at peak levels) or continued to increase.

Only a few were able to report a slight easing off in the numbers of people approaching them.

[Read more...]


Vulnerability Report Issue 2, September 2009

The number of people receiving the unemployment benefit has trebled in the year to June 2009. Alongside this, community based agencies are reporting significant and ongoing increases in demand for social services.

[Read more...]


Additional background information:

Issue 2, September 2009, Background Information


Vulnerability Report Issue 1, June 2009 

New Zealand entered the recession with hundreds of thousands of children and families already in poverty and with an under resourced social services sector. It is clear that the recession is making life more difficult for many people and placing an even greater strain on helping agencies.

[Read more...]

Additional background information:

Issue 1, June 2009, Background Information