Foreword

By Pole, Nicholas | Social Policy Journal of New Zealand, July 2001 | Go to article overview
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Foreword


Pole, Nicholas, Social Policy Journal of New Zealand


The Social Policy Journal of New Zealand was conceived in the midst of a period of quite substantial social, economic and political change. The journal has made the study of that change, and of its impact on the people of New Zealand, an important focus. Eight years later, the journal continues to serve as a forum for debate on how best to understand the change and to address the impacts. I am pleased to present to you Issue Sixteen with its themes of social equity and the evocative measurement of the economic well-being of the population.

Three papers deal with social equity, from a grounded community perspective to a conceptual level. Merata Kawharu discusses the historical bases for disparities, pointing to the cultural principles that support individual and group identity, and provide, the author argues, the underpinning of socio-economic and political survival. Robin Peace opens up the concept of "social exclusion", analysing its use historically and internationally, as well as some of its fishhooks. Louise Humpage and Augie Fleras explore the rationales for a social equity programme, finding links with the Treaty of Waitangi.

Poverty measures and their use in social policy development have been the focus of ongoing discussion in the journal. In their analysis of the effectiveness of the benefit and tax system in dealing with poverty, Bob Stephens and Charles Waldegrave use thresholds constructed through the use of focus groups. (They first described their methodology in Issue Five of this journal.) Vasantha Krishnan, who first wrote about poverty measurement in Issue Four, here combines Household Economic Survey (HES) data with Accommodation Supplement statistics to explore the impact of housing assistance on New Zealanders.

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