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Funeral Directors Welcome Community Finance Plan

Funeral Directors Welcome Community Finance Plan


The Government’s community finance initiative announced this week has been welcomed by the Funeral Directors Association as it maybe one way of helping low-income earners pay for funerals.

The initiative will offer interest-free and low-interest loans to low-income borrowers who banks don’t usually lend to. It is designed to help them access conventional sources of credit instead of using payday lenders and loan sharks.

Funeral Directors Association Chief Executive Katrina Shanks says the initiative is a great idea that has potential to help many low-income people on a number of fronts.

“I appreciate that the development of the one-year pilot for this is in its early stages, but it would be great to see if it could include applications from people faced with paying for relatives’ funerals.

“There are a lot of people who cannot afford to pay for funerals of loved ones immediately

“This comes down to costs in general, but particularly burial costs.

“In a lot of cases, funeral directors carry the costs until they are paid off, and they are happy to help where they can.

“In other cases, people with few means are forced to choose cremation, often against their wishes, instead of burial because of the cost of plots.

“Including funerals on the list of criteria in the community finance initiative would go a long way to helping alleviate some of the stress that finance issues can add at an otherwise very stressful time for families.”

Mrs Shanks met Social Development Minister Paula Bennett in March to discuss the cost of funerals and the growing gap between basic funeral costs and the Work and Income NZ (Winz) grant for low-income earners. The Minister has since asked for work to be done on funeral affordability.

Mrs Shanks said she was delighted this work was under way.

“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.

“I’m hopeful that somewhere in there we can find a way of helping people who need help.”

Ends

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