A fair chance for all

Breaking the disadvantage cycle


Cover slide of video thanking people for their feedbackThe Government has asked the Productivity Commission to investigate the dynamics and drivers of persistent disadvantage and to make recommendations to help break or mitigate the cycle of disadvantage within people’s lifetimes and across generations.

We would like to thank all those who offered their suggestions about where this inquiry should focus. This input helped shape the inquiry’s Terms of Reference. We are now conducting research and engagement to address the issues posed in the Terms of Reference and will release our findings over 2022. 

A fair chance for all


  • Scoping
    15 June 2021
  • Public engagement
    Feedback and submissions due by 27 August 2021
  • Terms of Reference
    December 2021
  • Preliminary recommendations
    August 2022
  • Final report
    March 2023

IPANZ webinars: Systematic change in the public service to better enable collaboration

IPANZ logoIPANZ is running three webinars in May 2022 on practical measures at the core of the public service to better contribute to collaborative work. 

Presenters will include Julie Fry, who undertook the below review of joined-up services, and Geoff Lewis on the Commission's More effective social services inquiry. Find out more and register here.

Review of joined-up social services

Cover of review of joined-up social servicesThe Productivity Commission asked consulting economist Julie Fry to review the recent progress of joined-up social service initiatives. 

Fry looked at 18 initiatives spanning a broad range of approaches and identified several areas where government can improve its funding and support. In this inquiry, we’ll explore practical ways of tackling these areas.

Read Together alone: A review of joined-up social services. Or a summary here

Webinar with Julie Fry

Julie Fry portrait picA webinar on Friday 4 March explored the review into joined-up social services. Julie Fry presented the key findings and we heard on-the-ground perspectives from Leslynne Jackson from Manaaki Tairāwhiti, Laura Black from Methodist Mission Southern and Sam Aberahama from NZ Police. 

Read a summary of the webinar here or access a recording of the webinar here.

What does this inquiry focus on?

People facing persistent disadvantage see their opportunities shrink and can end up trapped in a vicious cycle. When people are trapped in disadvantage, it is not only bad for them, but all of society loses out. This inquiry will focus on:

  • generating new insights about the drivers of persistent disadvantage, and the impacts across different population groups;
  • developing recommendations for actions and system changes to break or mitigate the cycle of disadvantage; and
  • helping raise public awareness and understanding of trends in economic inclusion and social mobility in New Zealand.

This inquiry will develop recommendations to help whānau and communities realise their potential, and enhance their mana and wellbeing. This includes exploring ways to better support Māori-led and Pacific-led solutions.

Find out more – read the Terms of Reference which guide this inquiry.

Your feedback made a difference

Front cover of report of public feedback with kids running The focus of this inquiry was developed after consultation with over 1,000 people and 60 organisations, to help ensure the Commission adds value where it is most needed.

What did people say? Read a summary of public input, a report on deep-dive wānanga with Māori or submissions here.

Many people offered valuable insights about the underlying causes of persistent disadvantage, and ideas for how to solve these problems. We will continue to use this rich information as we undertake the inquiry.

Why the first 1,000 days matter

Smiling baby on beachIn November 2020, the Commission and Koi Tū ran a webinar with four global experts to understand the importance of focusing on the early years in breaking the cycle of intergenerational disadvantage. 

Missed the webinar? View a recording of the webinar here and the presenters slides here. 

Have your say

We will be inviting the public, experts and stakeholders to provide feedback on our preliminary recommendations which will be published mid-2022. In the meantime if you would like to contact us, please contact info@productivity.govt.nz or 04 903 5160.