Our advice on the future of the welfare system is guided by the vision outlined in our terms of reference (in Appendix B):
A welfare system that ensures people have an adequate income and standard of living, are treated with and can live in dignity and are able to participate meaningfully in their communities.
We support this vision. The aspirations reflected here were voiced throughout our public consultation. A welfare system that fulfils this vision will provide opportunities to enrich the lives of the people receiving support and their families, whānau and communities. In this way, we will all benefit.
A successful welfare system should strengthen the mana (dignity, respect) of those who engage with it. This system must be strengths-based and recognise the human rights of people needing and receiving support.
Inequities experienced by Māori are longstanding and difficult to change. The approaches taken by different governments to social security and welfare policy have compounded this inequity. We consider that a system to address inequity requires chief executive-level accountability to iwi and Māori. These arrangements should be embedded in a revised Social Security Act. Similar requirements are in the Children, Young Persons and their Families (Oranga Tamariki) Legislation Act 2017 .
We describe our approach to reform of the welfare system as Kia Piki Ake Te Mana Tangata. Kia piki ake means to uplift, strengthen or raise up. Mana tangata refers to "the power and status accrued through one's leadership talents, human rights, mana of people". Therefore, kia piki ake te mana tangata is to uplift and strengthen the mana of the people. A related term is whakamana tāngata. This officially means "enhancing the authority and power of the people" but we are adopting the term to mean restoring dignity to people so they can participate meaningfully with their families and communities.