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Interim report on A Fair Chance for All

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Productivity Commission interim report calls for conversation on barriers and shifts needed to give a fair chance for all

29 September 2022

The New Zealand Productivity Commission Te Kōmihana Whai Hua o Aotearoa has released its interim report on "A fair chance for all", looking into persistent disadvantage in New Zealand, and the shifts needed to address it.

The report explores and suggests how we can build a more equitable and productive future for all in Aotearoa New Zealand. To do this, the Commission has examined the barriers that hold back too many New Zealanders from thriving. This report draws on work already done with wellbeing frameworks like He Ara Waiora, the Living Standards Framework and the recently-launched Pacific Wellbeing Strategy.

Productivity Commission Chair Dr Ganesh Nana says it is clear our systems and social safety net do not meet the needs of people and communities facing persistent disadvantage.

“While many people are thriving in Aotearoa New Zealand, too many are not. This report poses some searching questions we believe to be at the heart of shifting the barriers embedded in our systems that keep many trapped in a cycle of disadvantage,” he says.

The report defines disadvantage over three inter-related domains: being income poor (poverty), doing without (deprivation) and being left out (exclusion).

“Individuals, whānau and communities thrive when they have access to resources, are empowered to grow and develop on their own terms, and feel a sense of belonging,” Dr Nana says.

“While topics such as colonisation and institutional racism might feel confronting, these are conversations we must continue to have until they are no longer the source of disadvantage. In a future without disadvantage everyone will feel proud of their cultural identity, will feel they belong, and will be supported to achieve their aspirations.”

The Commission’s recommendations focus on the design and operation of our public management system, to prioritise equity, wellbeing and social inclusion, re-focusing public accountability settings, and improve monitoring and evaluation.

“While the root causes of inequities in peoples’ lives mainly lie outside the public sector, the state system has a huge effect on peoples’ opportunities to live thriving and fulfilling lives,” Dr Nana says. 

The full interim report and overview are available on our website