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Successive Governments fail disability sector

Successive Governments fail disability sector

Disability service providers say consistent under-funding by successive Governments is the biggest contributor to the challenges facing the sector.

In its first briefing paper to the sector, the New Zealand Disability Support Network, an association of disability support service providers, has outlined a series of issues impacting the effective provision of services to the disabled community.

At the top of the list is a lack of investment, which has effected workforce development, service capacity, service quality and innovation. The absence of fair pay has led to issues with staff recruitment and retention.

Chairperson Wendy Becker says the sector is doing what it can with the funding it receives, but needs to be better supported to retain quality staff, foster innovation, and improve service quality.

“Wages in the disability sector are substantially lower than comparable roles in other parts of the workforce, which makes it very difficult to attract and retain good staff,” she said.

“In addition to that, there is so little funding for innovation and quality development that what does happen tends to be short term, and happens in isolated pockets, so widespread implementation just isn’t possible.”

In 2013, 24 percent of the New Zealand population were identified as disabled, a total of 1.1 million people.

“We believe this under-investment shows the lack of real value and recognition placed on the aspirations of disabled people to live ordinary, inclusive lives in their communities,” said Ms. Becker.


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