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NZ First Only Choice For Change In Eldercare

Media Release

24 August 2005

NZ First The Only Choice For Real Change In Eldercare Funding

New Zealand First Leader Rt Hon Winston Peters today reiterated his commitment to alleviating the funding crisis currently facing the aged residential care sector.

His comments come in the wake of concerns voiced by Healthcare Providers New Zealand that in the future elderly New Zealanders will not have access to aged residential care unless funding is increased now.

“The last 5 years under Labour has seen this industry so chronically under-funded that without substantial cash injections into the sector it will collapse,” said Mr Peters.

“The fact that residential care has dropped from 7% to 5% of the health budget highlights Labour’s neglect of some of New Zealand’s most vulnerable citizens.

“Over the last 3 years more than forty local providers, primarily from the religious and not for profit sector, have closed their doors either by selling to foreign investors or simply shutting up shop and this is just not good enough.

“New Zealand First is committed to dramatically increasing funding to the elder care sector and the removal of income and asset testing for those requiring long stay hospital care and asset testing for those in long stay private care. We will ensure that a portion of this funding is ring-fenced to raise the abysmal pay rates of people working in this sector.

“We will also put in place a long term plan which recognises the reality that our ageing population will see those aged over 65 increasing from around half a million now to nearly 800, 000 in the next 20 years. It will also address the fact that the best type of residential care is local care, rather than a large, McDonalds style urban-only option.

“It is clear that New Zealand First is the only party which is committed to ensuring a long term sustainable solution to the aged residential care sector,” concluded Mr Peters.


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