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A fair chance for all

Breaking the cycle of persistent disadvantage

Hero image Breaking the cycle of persistent disadvantage girls dashing through the door of their new home

The Productivity Commission was asked to look at the persistence of disadvantage, influenced by the quality of economic inclusion and social mobility. We examined their influence on individuals, different population groups and wider society, and the link to productivity and economic performance to:  

  • generate new insights about the dynamics and drivers of persistent disadvantage, and the incidence/impacts across different population groups, including social and economic factors; and  
  • develop recommendations for actions and system changes to break or mitigate the cycle of disadvantage (both within a person’s lifetime and intergenerationally)

From our unique and specialist perspective we examined why 697,000 New Zealanders experience persistent disadvantage. 

People who are experiencing persistent disadvantage need to be empowered to influence the decisions that affect their lives. Through more effective support in their communities from people they trust and can hold accountable, and through long-term decisions and actions addressing the underlying causes, persistent disadvantage in Aotearoa New Zealand will steadily reduce over time.

A future without persistent disadvantage is within our grasp. Our final report contained 20 findings and 20 recommendations. You can read the final report and overview document here:

A Fair Chance for All: Final report

A Fair Chance for All: Overview

A quantitative analysis of disadvantage and how it persists in Aotearoa New Zealand

A pathway forward

The road map summarises our headline recommendations and our suggested order of priority. These recommendations are intended as a package - interlocking and reinforcing of each other. Our suggested phasing of action is: ‘start now’ (for urgent action), ‘do next’ (a second tranche of actions) and ‘keep moving forward’ (to maintain current progress).

Implementation road map details the system shifts the Commission has recommended with a suggested phasing of action

Government response

The response is supportive of the findings and recommendations made in our final report, noting that many of the recommendations align with existing work programmes, with others deserving of further investigation.  The Commission is pleased to see the Government’s interest in pursuing particular recommendations, including, introducing new legislation (a Wellbeing of Future Generations Act), establishing a Commissioner for Future Generations, the establishment of a social floor that measures levels of both material and non-material wellbeing necessary for social inclusion and the Commission undertaking a follow-up inquiry in three years’ time.

Minister of Finance, Grant Robertson noted “the Commission’s considered approach to this challenging issue,” and to “continued, constructive engagements with Commission staff on this and future inquiry topics.”

Read Government response here (PDF).

The Commission is an independent research and advisory body that does not have a mandate to implement any policies or programmes. However, by carrying out high quality, innovative research and evidence-based inquiries, we aim to influence and inform policy change and decision making.

Please contact us if you'd like any of the above reports converted into an accessible version.