Elderly and Caregivers Welcome NZ First Support for Increase
Elderly and Caregivers Welcome NZ First Support for Increased Funding
New Zealand First has positively responded to the New Zealand Aged Care Association’s call for increased funding for caregiver wages.
“Yesterday we received a letter from Winston Peters confirming New Zealand First supports the increase of caregiver wages to $17.50 per hour to achieve pay parity with caregivers in DHB hospitals,” says Martin Taylor, CEO of the New Zealand Aged Care Association (NZACA).
“New Zealand First understands the obligation we all have to our elderly New Zealanders, and that to truly show them the respect that they deserve, we need to support those who support them by increasing funding for caregiver wages.
“They also understand there is no better time to do this than now as the country is moving back into surplus”, says Mr Taylor.
The NZACA sent a letter to all political parties, which is available on whocares.org.nz/responses, asking what each party intends to do about low funding resulting in low caregiver wages, underfunding for the quality initiative, InteRAI, and two other policies essential to the care of our elderly.
The average hourly rate paid to caregivers working for aged care providers is $15.31 per hour. This is in contrast to caregivers in the District Health Board-owned hospitals and aged care facilities, who are receiving a minimum of $17.50 per hour.
“Every facility receives a subsidy for their care from the Government. All costs, including wages, have to come out of that subsidy and it is tightly controlled by Government.
“It’s too tight, and as the majority of operational costs in care are wages then it is caregivers who suffer,” says Mr Taylor.
“Our members are not in a position to pay the difference in wages from their own resources. It requires the Government to come to the party. It’s for this reason that we are campaigning on behalf of the aged care sector, which covers over 30,000 caregivers around the country, to implement the increase over a very achievable period of three years,” he says.
Mr Taylor says that any family who has an elderly relative in care will know the difference caregivers make. After all, caregivers are looking after their every need, and often very personal needs.
NZACA will be publishing the response from each political party on its campaign website: whocares.org.nz.