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Providing more support for families in need

Providing more support for families in need

Budget 2014 will increase the support available to low income families, building on the work already achieved, Whānau Ora Minister Tariana Turia says.

“I am pleased that the Government has now increased the age of eligibility for free doctors’ visits and prescriptions for children under the age of 13,” she says.

“Children under the age of six already have free GP visits. Extending this to cover under 13-year-olds will make a big difference for families in need. It was a key priority for us,” Mrs Turia says.

Budget 2014 has also committed additional new operating funding of $15 million over three years for Whānau Ora navigators.

“Whānau Ora navigators are crucial in helping families to develop a plan to address their needs and help them access a range of opportunities to improve their circumstances,” Mrs Turia says.

“Since its inception, Whānau Ora has enhanced the lives of 47,000 individuals and more than 6,000 families. This new funding will continue the good work already achieved with the Whānau Ora approach.

“I am also pleased that we are continuing our work on rheumatic fever. Budget 2014 will expand the free drop-in sore-throat clinics for a further 90,000 children and young people who are at risk of getting rheumatic fever.

“Rheumatic fever can have dire consequences if left untreated and can lead to severe damage to the heart. When the free clinics open later this year, over 200,000 children and young people in high-risk areas will have better access to prompt care and treatment for sore throats.”

The Government will also expand healthy homes initiatives in the Northland, Waikato, Lakes, Bay of Plenty, Tairāwhiti, Hawke’s Bay, Capital & Coast and Hutt Valley DHBs.

“Healthy homes are crucial and the healthy homes initiatives will help families to address housing conditions, particularly for those families living in crowded homes, a contributing factor for rheumatic fever,” Mrs Turia says.

"There is also great news for parents of newborn babies, with the increase in the parental tax credit in both amount (from $150 a week to $220 a week) and duration (from eight to 10 weeks). The parental tax credit is for families who are not receiving paid parental leave.

"With both the parental tax credit increase and the paid parental leave extension, families will receive better support to help them in their most important role - raising great children,” Mrs Turia says.

Relief for families includes:
· $90 million over four years to provide free GP visits and prescriptions for children aged under 13, starting 1 July, 2015.
· An extra $20 million over four years to combat New Zealand’s high rate of rheumatic fever – bringing the Government’s total investment to more than $65.3 million over six years.
· The additional funding for rheumatic fever includes an extra $5 million to raise awareness of rheumatic fever, including TV and radio campaigns and information resources.
· New funding of $15 million over three years for the Whānau Ora navigators’ work.
· $42 million over four years to increase the parental tax credit; and $172 million to extend paid parental leave.

Ends

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