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Funding Swallowed Up In Tax Cuts For Top Earners

25 August 2005

Aged Care Funding Swallowed Up In Tax Cuts For Top Earners

"The nearly $4 billion National wants to give in tax cuts leaves nothing to fix the funding crisis in aged care," said NZNO spokeswoman Cee Payne-Harker today.

"While National's tax cuts gives the most to the country's highest income earners, around half a billion is needed to fix the issues of staffing and pay across the entire health and disability workforce, including residential care, home support and disability," she said.

Cee Payne-Harker will address a Fair Share For Aged Care protest and rally in the Dunedin Octagon tomorrow, organised by Dunedin residential aged care providers. NZNO and aged care providers have been campaigning for government funding for the sector to pay the aged care workforce what they are worth.

"National has been quick to highlight underfunding of aged care but slow to commit the necessary funding to fix the pay gap causing massive recruitment and retention problems in the sector and resulting in a pitifully underpaid workforce," said Cee Payne-Harker. Cee Payne-Harker said the New Zealand Nurses Organisation supported Healthcare Providers NZ call for voters to consider parties' policies on closing the pay gap between the aged care workforce and those working in public hospitals before they vote.

"NZNO is challenging all political parties to demonstrate how they will ensure a decent standard of care for our older people and how they will ensure the workforce in aged care is fairly paid, adequately trained and maintained at a safe staffing level."

Cee Payne-Harker said workers in aged care needed the support of strong industrial law to bargain collectively for pay levels matching those in public hospitals.

"While Labour hasn't done enough to turn back the clock to pre-1990, funding for the sector has increased by $131 million over the past two years and, under the Employment Relations Act, workers have the right to organise in unions and bargain collectively," said Cee Payne-Harker.

ENDS

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