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$14 million boost for Strengthening Families

Hon Steve Maharey
Minister for Social Development and Employment

14 September 2005 Media Statement

$14 million boost for Strengthening Families

The government's Strengthening Families initiative will receive an extra $14 million over the next four years, Social Development and Employment Minister Steve Maharey announced today.

"Strengthening Families is a programme that works," Steve Maharey said. "The Labour-led government has invested heavily in services for families and this latest funding boost will mean agencies working with us will be better able to serve their communities."

Strengthening Families involves government and community agencies working together with at-risk families to support and improve family health, educational achievement, and reduce abuse, neglect and youth offending. The funding boost has resulted from a review of the initiative, which showed that Strengthening Families is a good way to deliver services to families with multiple needs.

“A major advance in the implementation of Strengthening Families is the provision of $1 million this financial year and $2.75 million in future years to compensate community organisations for carrying out the lead agency role, which they have not previously been funded for.

"The funding will also be used for increasing the availability of facilitators and co-ordinators, and for their training and support."

Steve Maharey said Labour's continued support for families stood in stark contrast to National's policies that would lead to greater dependence on benefits, rising poverty and growing inequality within communities.

"Over the past six years, Labour has focused on delivering practical achievements for New Zealand families. We've helped hundreds of thousands of people move off benefits, we've helped lift tens of thousands of children out of poverty and we've helped build a strong economy where all New Zealanders can get ahead.

"National is willing to raise rents for state house tenants and willing to cut Family Support to fund a $92 a week tax cut for the richest 3 per cent of New Zealanders. National's policies would lead to increasing need for food banks and support from community agencies.

"Unfortunately, National's tax cuts would leave New Zealand so heavily in debt that a Brash government would not be able to adequately support the work of social service agencies. National is offering a recipe for social crisis and would lead a government powerless to confront it."

ENDS

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