Welfare state

Policy report

14 Dec 2017

Highlights key changes and identifies themes in the continued and systematic reduction of social welfare and income support for children in New Zealand since 2008.


6 Nov 2017

Argues that a Universal Basic Income would be unaffordable with the current taxation system and would involve enormous additional taxation.

Working paper

4 Aug 2017

A literature review of how formal institutions affect self-reported well-being.


25 Jun 2017

This New Zealand radio documentary explores the issues involved with government collection of social service data.

Journal article

15 Apr 2017

A growing body of research quantifies the recent impact of fiscal consolidation and public service reform in liberal welfare regimes. However, less is known about how this is affecting the common terms upon which citizenship status is granted and experienced. With this in mind, this...


27 Mar 2017


Research from the Australia institute has calculated the impact of the recent Fair Work Commission decision to cut penalty rates on the Commonwealth Budget.

The paper from Richard Denniss, Chief Economist at The Australia Institute, found reduced income tax collection from...


28 Feb 2017

This background paper explains why families in Aotearoa New Zealand need a much more robust system of tax credit supports, as well as higher wages.

New Zealand was once a model for other countries to follow in regard to its egalitarianism. Today, there is...



14 Dec 2016

This opinion-piece, from the Professor of Public Policy at Victoria University of Wellington, outlines ways the new Bill English-led Government could assist less well-off families in New Zealand. Considers income and wealth inequality and the need to reform public assistance for families. Refers to the...

Discussion paper

2 Dec 2016

The Community Development Programme (CDP) is a remote-area Work for the Dole scheme that principally affects Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The program is billed by the government as 'helping people find work, and allowing them to contribute to their communities and gain skills...

Journal article

27 Nov 2016

Since 2008, mature welfare states have, to varying degrees, pursued a strategy of welfare reform that has reconfigured the dominant praxis of social citizenship. Drawing on qualitative data from two studies, this paper explores what bearing this has had on the political subjectivity of welfare...


5 Oct 2016

This Topic Guide provides an overview of the development of social impact bonds, a mechanism for using private investment funds to finance social programs, together with links to reports and articles in the Policy Online archive.

APO Topic Guide




9 Sep 2016

The Coalition’s budget cuts have a disproportionate impact on low-income groups, write Peter Whiteford and Daniel Nethery in this detailed analysis

AN EVENTFUL first sitting week of the new parliament saw the Turnbull government introduce legislation for a raft of savings measures, some...

Discussion paper

20 Jun 2016

With experience as a prison doctor and psychiatrist, Theodore Dalrymple decries the impact of the welfare state and a culture of dependence in society.

A phrase such as ‘a broken society’ should not be made to bear more meaning than it has. Societies do...

Journal article

15 Jan 2016

The neoliberal agenda has been in place in Aotearoa / New Zealand, under governments of different political persuasion, since the mid-1980s. An important aspect of this agenda has been to construct an environment in which individuals are expected to take more responsibility for their own...



30 Oct 2015

It’s seventy years since France introduced major social security laws. Daniel Nethery was there for the celebration

“Social security has irreversibly changed our country,” declared Marisol Touraine, minister for social security and women’s rights, as she opened the official celebration of the seventieth...

Journal article

19 Aug 2015

Nearly four years ago, Prime Minister John Key announced a major reform of the welfare system. He defined the problem with the existing system in the following terms:

The stand-out feature of New Zealand’s benefit system is how passive it is. For the most...

Journal article

14 Jul 2015


The rise of interest in the social economy as a sector with a significant role to play in the changing dynamic of state/private sector relations has engendered a wide range of policies and practices that seek to both clarify and amplify the...


26 Jun 2015

In this speech to the 2015 Australian Council of Social Service congress, social security minister Scott Morrison outlined a series of initatives consistent with the government’s view that it should reduce its role on social welfare provision, including via social impact bonds.

Journal article

6 Sep 2012

Job loss has negative consequences for health and evidence shows that the agency of workers experiencing job loss is affected by labour market and welfare policy. The policy environment into which workers emerge after losing their jobs strongly influences the way job loss and its...


28 Feb 2007

This annual survey received responses from 857 community services across Australia in the 12 months to July 2006. The report finds that community services are under strain trying to meet the needs of disadvantaged Australians. Lack of funding or resources meant one in every sixteen...



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