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Mileage is a start for homecare staff

Don Brash
National Party Leader

16 August 2005

Mileage is a start for homecare staff

National Party Leader Don Brash says the next National Government will reimburse homecare workers for their mileage costs.

“National will address this as a matter of urgency.

“We will reimburse caregivers for mileage from 1 April 2006 as a first step to ensure our elderly and disabled get reliable and quality care.”

The cost has been estimated at around $19 million in a full year.

“It is a false economy to short-change our home carer services. The costs of rest home and hospital care are much more expensive. Many older and disabled people prefer to live in their own homes with community support.

“Providers have reported to me resignations of staff in response to recent fuel hikes. That is simply unacceptable in a sector already under strain.

“District nurses, Plunket nurses, midwives, nurse assistants and hospital aides are paid mileage or provided with a car. MPs are also paid the IRD mileage rate.

“National will address this inequality as a priority on becoming Government. We see it as a starting point for a considerable investment in a sector that cares for those who are among our most vulnerable.”

At a meeting of caregivers in Nelson today, Dr Brash said the aged-care sector particularly has been grossly under-funded by Labour.

“National plans to make the provision of quality aged-care services a point of difference at this election.

“For us, addressing the crisis in eldercare is a bigger priority than providing increased taxpayer subsidies for upper income working-age adults who can afford to pay to go to the doctor,” says Dr Brash.

ENDS

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