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Budget prioritises social services investment

Hon Paula Bennett

Minister for Social Development and Employment

28 May 2009

Budget prioritises social services investment

Budget 2009 provides support for New Zealanders through the current economic downturn so they can take advantage of the recovery when it comes, Social Development and Employment Minister Paula Bennett says.

“The current economic environment has forced some hard choices. We have to balance prudent financial management with maintaining investment in services that people depend on in tough times.

“I’m pleased to say that despite the challenges, this Budget backs the Government’s commitment to social services that work. We are helping community and voluntary sector groups make a real difference in our communities,” she says.

“The Community Response Fund, which I announced last week, makes up to $40 million available in the first year to support voluntary sector groups delivering vital services in communities throughout New Zealand.

“The Fund will respond to the cost and demand pressures facing the community and voluntary sector as a result of the current economic downturn,” Ms Bennett says.

An extra $81.5 million over the next four years has been announced for the Government’s Fresh Start initiatives for young offenders. This will extend the current range of tools available for the youth justice system when dealing with serious and persistent young offenders.

The Government is also continuing funding for several initiatives that make New Zealand families and communities stronger and more resilient in tough times.

These include $4 million of spending in 2009/10 for:

• Reducing Youth Offenders Programme
• Kauri Centre
• Teen Parent Service Coordinators
• Family Violence campaign
• Early Years Service Hubs

“These programmes are focused on prevention, to help children grow into happy, well-adjusted young people and adults,” Ms Bennett says.


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