The values that should underpin our welfare system

Contributors were asked which values should underpin our welfare system in an open-field text question. Their answers were coded manually under 10 headings that recurred most frequently.

Those values were:

  1. Compassion, empathy, aroha.

  2. Respect and dignity.

  3. Care, kindness and help.

  4. Equality and fairness.

  5. Understanding, acceptance and trust.

  6. Honesty, integrity and transparency.

  7. Embracing of community, whakawhanaungatanga and diversity.

  8. Uplifting, people-centred, kind.

  9. Honouring of Tiriti o Waitangi.

  10. Non-judgemental.

They are listed in the order they appeared most.

“I believe we need a long term fundamental plan that will be adhered to by all parties in power regardless. The philosophy should be to help people back into independence in a compassionate and empathetic way. To address the underlying causes of why people remain on benefits, such as mental health issues and lack of adequately paying job opportunities. The values should be to want to create a fully participating inclusive society where people are valued for their work. I think it is also important to accept that there will always be a certain percentage of society that will need support, and that is part of what we choose when we vote for a compassionate democracy.”

  • Lynda, Manawatū

“Treat people as equals with dignity and respect. People need a proper hand up, not kicked when already down. More resources in place. More employers onboard to give people a chance.”

  • Anon, Auckland

“Our entire welfare system should be first and foremost about availability of care, food, resources, safety for all our people, especially the most vulnerable. All of this needs to be streamlined from point A. If you need help to leave a violent home then everything needs to kick in to place - housing, kai, money etc. The violent partner then needs to be placed into a care facility for anger management, drug and alcohol support (if needed), education etc. Our system needs to bring about real change.”

  • Anne, Pukerua Bay

“Promoting anti-discriminatory practice (including policies and codes of practice). Maintaining confidentiality of information. Promoting and supporting individuals rights to dignity, independence, empowerment, choice and safety. Providing individualised care.”

  • Jacqueline, 54, Geraldine

“The main values need to revolve around helping people - financially, emotionally, socially, practically etc.”

  • Jo, 64, Balclutha