Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


Govt funding is causing unfair wages in aged care

14 March 2005

Inadequate Government funding is causing unfair wages in aged care

The continued Government underfunding for aged care services is the reason why New Zealand caregivers’ wages are so low, according to the New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services (NZCCSS).

Commenting at the start of Caregivers Week, NZCCSS Vice President Gillian Bremner is calling for an immediate and significant increase in funding by the Government to enable aged care service providers to increase wages for caregivers and nurses.

The imminent price increase of around 3 percent in residential care, while very welcome, is funding that was due last July and for many providers has already been spent. A significant funding boost is necessary to ensure the long term sustainability of the sector and get away from a hand to mouth approach.

“Continued exploitation by Government of the commitment of care workers to their residents and clients and the Government’s disregard for the risks for the care of older New Zealanders is unacceptable,” Mrs Bremner says.

The Government has acknowledged the funding problem but has not taken adequate steps to deal with a deepening crisis situation. Funds have been provided to cover the 20 percent wage increases for nursing staff working for District Health Boards (DHBs) but the Government is not funding similar increases for nursing staff who work in the religious and welfare organisations and other agencies which provide all the aged care services. Similarly, caregivers who work for DHBs receive significantly higher wages than those who work in aged care services.

Mrs Bremner says there is already a big problem finding staff for rest homes, home support work and day care and the huge difference in pay between those working for DHBs and those working in aged care will make the situation even more desperate.

“Our care workers undertake critically important physical and emotional work, and require increasingly high skill levels, yet Government underfunding means that they receive a lower wage than someone picking apples. Similarly, there is currently no provision in Government funding to recognise the costs of training staff to appropriate levels of qualification."

In aged residential care alone, more than two thousand rest home beds operated by religious and welfare organisations have been lost or are up for sale. Christian social service organisations with long traditions of care and commitment to the needs of poor and vulnerable face difficult decisions about continuing to provide services when the prices they are paid for services by Government in no way reflect the realities of the costs of operating those services.

“We need to honour, value and support older people by ensuring they can access services that enable them to have control over their lives. NZCCSS is concerned that older people in some communities may be left without services in the future. This is because, as acknowledged by the Government, the subsidy is insufficient to cover the cost of the services required. And many community agencies can no longer afford to make up the funding shortfall”, Mrs Bremner says.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines


Breed Laws Don’t Work: Vets On New National Dog Control Plan

It is pleasing therefore to see Louise Upston Associate Minister for Local Government calling for a comprehensive solution... However, relying on breed specific laws to manage dog aggression will not work. More>>


Corrections Corrected: Supreme Court Rules On Release Dates

Corrections has always followed the lawful rulings of the Court in its calculation of sentence release dates. On four previous occasions, the Court of Appeal had upheld Corrections’ practices in calculating pre-sentence detention. More>>


Not Waiting On Select Committee: Green Party Releases Medically-Assisted Dying Policy

“Adults with a terminal illness should have the right to choose a medically assisted death,” Green Party health spokesperson Kevin Hague said. “The Green Party does not support extending assisted dying to people who aren't terminally ill because we can’t be confident that this won't further marginalise the lives of people with disabilities." More>>


General Election Review: Changes To Electoral Act Introduced

More effective systems in polling places and earlier counting of advanced votes are on their way through proposed changes to our electoral laws, Justice Minister Amy Adams says. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Our Posturing At The UN

In New York, Key basically took an old May 2 Washington Post article written by Barack Obama, recycled it back to the Americans, and still scored headlines here at home… We’ve had a double serving of this kind of comfort food. More>>


Treaty Settlements: Bills Delayed As NZ First Pulls Support

Ngāruahine, Te Atiawa and Taranaki are reeling today as they learnt that the third and final readings of each Iwi’s Historical Treaty Settlement Bills scheduled for this Friday, have been put in jeopardy by the actions of NZ First. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The Damage De-Regulation Is Doing To Fisheries And Education, Plus Kate Tempest

Our faith in the benign workings of the market – and of the light-handed regulation that goes with it – has had a body count. Back in 1992, the free market friendly Health Safety and Employment Act gutted the labour inspectorate and turned forestry, mining and other workplace sites into death traps, long before the Pike River disaster. More>>

Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news