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Interim report

Preliminary findings and recommendations

Based on evidence and research we carried out or commissioned others to do, and information from our public engagement, our interim report provided preliminary findings and recommendations.

About 17% (724,000) of New Zealanders experienced persistent disadvantage in both 2013 and 2018. Young people, families and whānau can face multiple disadvantages holding them back, which can turn in to a cycle of persistent or intergenerational diadvantage. People and families face impossible choices every day, just trying to get by.

Our interim recommendations focused on the overall settings of the public management system.

Rather than recommending sector-specific policy changes or how individuals, communities and society in general can achieve change, we asked the question: what are the “upstream” system settings that hold persisitent disadvantage in place and what would enable change?

We identified four barriers to addressing persistent disadvantage that exist throughout the public management system and impact all sectors and all institutions:

  • power imbalances;
  • discrimination and the ongoing impact of colonisation;
  • siloed and fragmented government; and
  • short-termism and status quo bias.

This report was based on evidence and research we carried out or commissioned.

Submissions on interim report

We received 68 submissions on our provisional findings on this wide-ranging and complex topic. The submissions covered a range of perspectives, and a broad spectrum of themes.

The summary of submissions report outlines the key themes from the submissions we received on the interim report. 

What we heard

  • Communities who experience persistent disadvantage are often overlooked by the system.
  • The proposed public management system barriers (power-imbalances, discrimination, siloed government, and short-termism) were generally endorsed, with some challenges.
  • We need a system that prioritises wellbeing, is based on a person’s strengths, addresses advantage, as well as disadvantage, and is grounded in human rights.
  • The system needs to improve its accountability to people, whānau and communities.
  • There was agreement that the current accountability system needs reviewing and that it needs stronger stewardship.
  • Communities could be better at addressing persistent disadvantage if properly supported.
  • The system needs to be better at learning to improve services and to better understand the people it serves.


Read the summary of submissions on our interim report: PDF or HTML

View Haemata Wānanga Feedback Report

View Public Summary of Talanoa Session.

Community engagement

Consultation and collaboration with others is integral to our work. This enables us to benefit from the cross-fertilisation of ideas and insights, ensuring our work makes a difference to lift the productivity of Aotearoa New Zealand to improve the wellbeing of New Zealanders. 

Perspectives on a fair chance for all interim report

Webinars with a selection of leaders from different constituencies to gain their thoughts about the Commission’s preliminary findings and recommendations.  

Speakers on webinar held 25 October:

Rob Campbell, Independent Director; Dr Claire Achmad, Chief Executive, Social Service Providers Aotearoa; and Derek Gill, Associate, New Zealand Institute of Economic Research

Watch the panel webinar on 25 October.

Speakers on webinar held 26 October:

Dr Penny Hagen, Director Tangata Tiriti, Auckland Co-Design Lab; Angie Tangaere, Kaitohu Tangata Whenua, Auckland Co-Design Lab; Tunumafono Fa'amoetauloa Avaula Fa'amoe MNZM, Board Member Vaka Tatua, Founder Tōfa Mamao; and Eruera Tarena, Tokona Te Raki / Māori Futures Collective

Watch the panel webinar on 26 October.

Growing up in New Zealand – Family resources and how they influence children’s development in Aotearoa New Zealand

We used the Growing Up in New Zealand study to tease out these relationships and better understand the long term effects. 

Read this report

Watch recorded seminar

Presentation slides (Dr Prickett)

Presentation slides (NZ College of Midwives)

Review of joined-up social services

We 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