Terry Drummond, an Anglican lay minister visiting from
England, is concerned about potential adverse effects in
Presbyterian Support Otago's recent loss of a $5.5 million
contract to provide home-based support for older people.
Photo by Gregor Richardson.
New Zealand should avoid taking a leaf out of the British
Government's book when it comes to social welfare benefits and
poverty, London-based Anglican lay minister Terry Drummond
Mr Drummond has been an adviser on urban and public policy to
the Anglican Bishop of Southwark in London since 2011.
And, since last month, he has also been Harold Turner
Visiting Fellow at the University of Otago Centre for
Theology and Public Issues.
This week he gave an open lecture on ''Priests, Sex and
Money, Ten years in the life of the Church of England,
2002-12'', in association with the centre.
Mr Drummond said former British prime minister Margaret
Thatcher had been heavily criticised for the negative effect
of some of her policies on the poor. And some of her policies
were ''not good''.
But it was ironic the present British coalition Government,
led by David Cameron, had often been somewhat less strident
in its rhetoric about beneficiaries and the unemployed, but
had actually inflicted much more harm on disadvantaged
people, he said in an interview.
The present UK Government was ''far more radically right
wing'' than Mrs Thatcher's, but was ''more smooth in its
The Cameron Government claimed the cuts were being made for
overall national economic benefit, given high national debt,
but the cost was being borne disproportionately by the poor
and the vulnerable.
Some benefits, including housing support, had been cut, a
training allowance for some young people had been removed and
several public libraries had been closed by local councils
after Government block grants were reduced.
A library was ''more than a set of books'' - it was a
valuable community resource, connecting people with ''the
wider world'' and enabling to dream of other possibilities.
He noted that New Zealand was also considering future benefit
''If we're a society, we need to invest in people,'' he said.
Investing in helping disadvantaged people, both financially
and socially, helped reduce unemployment and produced ''far
better human beings''.
Vulnerable people, including the elderly, could be badly
affected by any changes in service provision, irrespective of
There was also a risk some people could also be adversely
affected by the Southern District Health Board's decision to
end its home care funding contract with Presbyterian Support
A longstanding provider such as Presbyterian Support built up
a great deal of local knowledge, and that should be retained,
he said. Mr Drummond also took part in a 5.15pm panel
discussion on ''new models of leadership'' in the 21st
century church, also run by the centre, at Otago University