Barnardos has high hopes for Budget 2019
Barnardos hopes Budget 2019 will build momentum towards An Aotearoa New Zealand where every child shines bright
Barnardos, Aotearoa’s national children’s charitable NGO working towards the vision of ‘An Aotearoa where every child shines bright’, says it is pleased to see children and their families and whānau prioritised in Budget 2019.
Speaking following the Prime Minister’s Social Sector Budget Lock-up today, Barnardos Chief Executive Mike Munnelly says that “this Budget feels different, with the central focus it places on people, he tangata, and for that is to be welcomed.”
Mr Munnelly says that “Barnardos is particularly pleased to see a focus on investments that should lead to reduced numbers of children and families living in poverty, help children and families to live in safe and healthy home environments, to experience better mental health, and support positive outcomes for children and young people in state care. Taken together, Barnardos hopes that this Budget will build momentum towards Aotearoa being a place where every child can develop to reach their potential and shine bright.”
Barnardos says that many of the areas that the government has invested in through the Budget are areas of urgent need for children, families and whānau. “Some of the most significant challenges facing our families in this country are entrenched and have been experienced across generations, with their roots in inequality, poverty, and lack of opportunities. Change needs to be intergenerational in approach, with people at the centre. This Budget appears to take this approach, which is welcomed”, Mr Munnelly says.
Mr Munnelly says that “in particular, Barnardos welcomes the significant investment in universal and primary level mental health initiatives, including with a particular focus on Māori and Pacific. These should lead to more accessible and timely mental health support for children, young people and families. Barnardos is pleased to see the Government committing to indexing main benefits, which should have an impact on reducing child poverty. As a partner working in the Oranga Tamariki system, Barnardos also welcomes the investments in ensuring better outcomes for children and young people in state care, including more intensive and early intervention to keep children and their families and whānau safe.”
However, Barnardos says that there are some areas where the Budget appears to be lighter than hoped. “We would have liked to see the Best Start Payment increased and extended, to provide greater financial support for a positive and equal start in life for every child. Regarding workforce sustainability, greater investment in early childhood education would have helped ease pressures particularly in relation to remuneration, so that children can continue experiencing high quality early learning and development. The new services coming out of Oranga Tamariki are to be welcomed along with the fact that they will be fully funded, which is good news for the NGO sector. However, we had also hoped to see a broader investment in community based social services, to reduce pressures particularly around social worker pay and retention. This Budget makes a start on addressing the issue with a measure of increased funding for NGOs. Whether that will be sufficient to address the current gap remains to be seen. At this stage it does look like more financial support will be needed to ensure the sustainability of our sector over time, so we can continue serving children and families well. NGOs like Barnardos play a crucial role in supporting the wellbeing of children and families in Aotearoa, and we remain committed to seeing every child flourish in loving, safe and strong families and whānau”, Mr Munnelly says.