Call for feedback to inform Terms of Reference for disadvantage inquiry

Tue 03 Aug 2021

The Productivity Commission is inviting feedback to help develop the Terms of Reference for their inquiry on disadvantage.

The New Zealand Productivity Commission - Te Kōmihana Whai Hua o Aotearoa has been asked by the Government to conduct an inquiry into the drivers of persistent disadvantage within people’s lifetimes and across generations. The Commission is asking for public feedback to help develop the Terms of Reference for the inquiry.

The closing date to give feedback is 27 August 2021.

The inquiry, A fair chance for all: Breaking the disadvantage cycle, will take an in-depth look at who gets stuck in persistent disadvantage, and what can be done to help break the cycle of that disadvantage. The inquiry has three goals:

  • "creating a clear, coherent and accessible summary of the trends in economic inclusion and social mobility in New Zealand, including the links between reducing persistent disadvantage and higher productivity, economic performance and wellbeing;
  • undertaking significant research to generate new insights about people facing persistent disadvantage in New Zealand; and
  • assessing what works and developing policy recommendations for breaking the cycle of that disadvantage."

Commission Chair, Ganesh Nana said “We are keen to kōrero with a broad range of people, groups and communities to help shape this important mahi. The Commission looks forward to hearing the insights and advice from those who work across the range of social support services and education sectors, as well as iwi, Māori, and Pacific groups, and many others.”

In a Stuff article, the Productivity Commission wrote:

"In order to thrive, people need a sense of identity and belonging, community, opportunity and financial resources. Without these, people can face disadvantage; mental health issues, loneliness, a lack of basic material necessities and poverty which make it very difficult for them to reach their potential. Particular life events and circumstances can trigger disadvantage, such as illness, disability, redundancy, or becoming the victim of violence or crime.

Many people stuck in persistent disadvantage experience multiple interrelated challenges, including unemployment, insecure or poor quality housing, poor educational and health outcomes, or drug and alcohol dependence. These factors can have a cumulative impact on their life opportunities and wellbeing. Disadvantage can be passed on for generations, making it even harder to escape."

The Commission has published a consultation paper that sets out what they mean by persistent disadvantage and what we currently know about disadvantage in Aotearoa New Zealand. 

You can give feedback by:

The Consultation paper also notes that "The Commission is also looking to meet with a range of stakeholder groups."

Right now, the Commission is asking for feedback to develop the Terms of Reference which will define the scope and focus of the inquiry. The Terms of Reference will be presented to Cabinet in November 2021. Once approved, the Commission will then have 12 months for the inquiry and will present the findings and recommendations to Government. There will be further opportunities to give feedback for the inquiry. 

You can contact the Commission on (04) 903 5167 or

For more information about the links between family violence and disadvantage, see our related news stories below and search our library under the quick topic Socio-economic factors.

Related media

Women who suffer domestic violence fare much worse financially after separating from their partner: new data, The Conversation, 14.09.2022

Benefit sanctions: Study reveals many unaware cuts can be challenged, RNZ, 09.08.2021

A fair chance for all: The story of disadvantage in New Zealand, The Spinoff, 21.07.2021

Productivity Commission seeks public's views on 'persistent disadvantage', Stuff, 19.07.2021

Society hurt by persistent disadvantage, Waatea News, 19.07.2021

Rogernomics? Not on the watch of Ganesh Nana, new head of the Productivity Commission, Stuff, 19.06.2021

Image: Kat Stokes on Unsplash

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