New Zealand has experienced both sweeping economic and social reform and growing poverty and income inequality in the last twenty years. This book explores the changes to social security provision and coverage in the context of these developments and of widening national and international poverty and inequality.
The book argues that the policy initiatives have altered the nature of social security and in doing so have significantly transformed the nature of social citizenship. The author brings the New Zealand data together in a way that has not been done previously and provides the reader with both a detailed discussion of the work on poverty and living standards in New Zealand and the political and economic context within which social security changes have occurred.
Linking the discussion to international changes in social security and to the international literature on poverty and inequality, the author demonstrates the important implications the New Zealand directions have for the development of social security internationally.
The book will be of considerable interest for all those interested in international reshaping of state support for the poorest and most vulnerable and its development in a neoliberal and Third Way.
Michael O'Brien is senior lecturer at the School of Social and Cultural Studies, Massey University, New Zealand.
Part one: The contexts of reform: Introduction; Mapping the territory: A brief historical review; Defining and measuring inequality and poverty; Facing the greatest risk of poverty: Who?; Poverty and low living standards: Effects and impacts; Part two: The changing policy directions: Politics, globalisation and social security; The fourth Labour government:1984-90; National and national-led government:1990-99; The early twenty first century: Labour led developments; Social security: How social, how secure; Bibliography