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CUP book

Social Policy for Social Work and Human Services in Aotearoa New Zealand: Diverse perspectives

20 November 2023

Edited by Jane Maidment and Liz Beddoe


(Temporarily out of print but available as an ebook)

February 2016
356pp, softback
228 x152 mm
ISBN 978-1-927145-73-9

Social policy reflects the dominant social, economic and political discourses of a nation’s government and reveals how each country addresses the needs and wellbeing of its population. For practitioners in social work and human services, questions of human rights, citizenship, social justice and equity are ever-present in their day-to-day work with clients of all ages. 

As such, social policy plays a significant role in shaping the response to need in any community or population, through the provision of financial, physical or legislative protections or resources. The extent to which social policy offers security for the most vulnerable, while addressing economic and social inequality, signals the moral and ethical compass of those who govern. There are ways for practitioners and other advocates to influence, and resist where necessary, the direction of policy through community development, strategic change, research and social action.

This volume provides examples of such initiatives and examines the making and shaping of contemporary social policy in Aotearoa New Zealand. The text covers a broad range of social policy topics from a critical perspective including fields of practice, current debates and case-study examples of social-change initiatives. Students, lecturers, researchers and people interested in New Zealand society in general will find a critical appraisal of current social policy within these pages.

Jane Maidment is an associate professor in the Department of Human Services and Social Work at the University of Canterbury. She is a registered social worker and has teaching and research interests in the areas of field education, practice skill development, older persons, and using craft as a vehicle for social connectedness.

Liz Beddoe is an associate professor in the School of Counselling, Human Services and Social Work, Faculty of Education and Social Work, at the University of Auckland. Liz’s teaching and research interests include critical perspectives on social work education, professional supervision, and the media framing of social problems.


“Social work students – and others from the broader social and human services – need to understand the interaction between policies and programmes on the one hand and lived social experiences on the other, with their mutual shaping within the wider context of societal change. Programmes provide opportunities and constrain choices, while policies can be reshaped as a result of citizen and professional activism. This freshly-minted, New Zealand-orientated text provides the necessary descriptions of the relevant social institutions as well as providing a rich sociological perspective on how they work and their often fateful consequences.”

Charles Crothers, Professor of Sociology, Auckland University of Technology

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