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Work on Affordability of Funerals

Work on Affordability of Funerals

24 March 2014

Funeral directors are delighted that the Government has agreed to look at the affordability of funerals.

The Chief Executive of the Funeral Directors Association of NZ (FDANZ), Katrina Shanks, and board member Stephen Dil, met Social Development Minister Paula Bennett recently to discuss the cost of funerals, including the growing gap between basic costs and the Work and Income NZ (Winz) grant.

Mrs Shanks said she was delighted the Minister has asked for work to be done on funeral affordability.

“I felt we made a very good case that something needed to be done around general affordability, including an increase in the Winz grant to cover the gap.

“FDANZ appreciates that the grant is designed to make a contribution towards the cost of a funeral, but we believe the gap between actual costs and the grant has become too great for too many people.”

Increasing the grant is one of a range of options proposed by FDANZ and put to the Minister.

Mrs Shanks says there has been no increase in the grant since 2003. It is accessed by about 5000 people each year.

“The industry is concerned about costs in general, but particularly around the gap in burial costs.

“We have concerns that due to the costs of burials, those with few means will not have the choice to be buried and may have to be cremated against their wishes.” She says there needs to be a shared responsibility for ensuring funerals are accessible for all by promoting advance planning for funerals, the industry providing a range of services including basic services, and government assistance for those who can’t afford funeral services.

The Funeral Directors Association of New Zealand (FDANZ) is an association of caring professionals who are committed to ensuring the families they serve receive high quality funeral services. www.funeralsnewzealand.co.nz

ENDS

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