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Budget 2006 - We’re Not There Yet

Budget 2006 - We’re Not There Yet

The New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services (NZCCSS) has welcomed the announcement of increased funding in aged care in today’s Budget, but says there is still much to be done.

Noting the increases in residential care, some $68 million over four years, and $58 million over four years for home support services, NZCCSS Executive Officer Jeremy Irvine says the increases are good but not enough. However, he noted it was pleasing to see an ongoing commitment to invest in the aged care sector over the next four years.

“The increases are recognition by the Government that the aged care sector needs additional funding beyond inflation, but the reality is that the pay gap between District Health Board nursing staff and aged care providers nursing staff will make it very difficult to recruit and retain suitable staff.

“Government has to address this key resourcing issue more seriously. In relation to the increase announced today, the challenge will be for the Government to ensure this increase is passed on to providers, as the Minister for Health noted in Parliament this week.”

Mr Irvine welcomed the additional funding for home support services, noting a robust home support service was an important part of delivering on the Health of Older People strategy.

The announcement of 2000 additional state houses over three years was welcomed and Mr Irvine said it was pleasing to see the Government had continued to invest in this key area.

Family wellbeing programmes including child health, violence prevention and additional funding for young people and children were seen as positive initiatives in supporting families, as was the campaign to fight obesity, details of which will be announced later in the year.

Mr Irvine says that NZCCSS is disappointed in the lack of funding for agencies that assist local communities in need.

“Despite strong economic times and low unemployment, there are many New Zealanders who find life a struggle, and we’d have liked to have seen funding for organisations which assist poor and vulnerable families locally. Most of these agencies have not had realistic funding increases and their capacity to respond to needs flexibly obviously can’t continue without an increase in funding,”

Mr Irvine concludes.

ENDS

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