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Disability Support Network Supports System Transformation

New Zealand Disability Support Network Supports System Transformation, but is anyone doing the maths when it comes to funding it?
Media Statement
27 April 2018

NZDSN welcomes the recent announcements to transform the disability service system, starting with a prototype in the Mid-Central region, but more is needed to deliver sustainable choice and control for people and their family and whanau.

The announced changes are long overdue and as the peak body for disability service providers NZDSN will be working hard to support and assist disability organisations to prepare for and adapt to the changes.

“We need to remember that the disability sector has experienced years of suppressed funding to the point where services have only been partially funded for some time,” says Dr Garth Bennie, NZDSN Chief Executive.

NZDSN says the recent pay equity settlement, while increasing support worker wages on the one hand, has also exacerbated these funding issues.

“If this remains unaddressed the significant difficulties currently experienced by provider organisations will simply be passed on to disabled individuals and families who will discover that their personal budgets simply won’t have the ‘purchasing power’ required to secure the supports and services they need,” says Garth.

NZDSN says the recent announcements are a positive step but they are also being made against a backdrop where government is currently:

About to implement a pricing model for disability residential services that is not based on the actual costs of providing support
Has offered a 1.8 per cent price increase for Disability Support Services contracts that continues the tradition of partial funding, without recognising the significant extra costs associated with the pay equity settlement
Plans to claw back part of the original funding to meet the costs of the pay equity settlement as the result of a technical calculation that everyone, including government officials, are struggling to understand and explain
“The planned changes signalled by this week’s announcements are essential to create the level of choice and control that disabled people and families and whanau have been demanding for years.

“NZDSN wants to see a transformed system where everyone can participate with confidence – including long-term and sustainable funding solutions – otherwise everyone is going to be disappointed.”

NZDSN is keen to work with government on a bolder approach to how a transformed service system might be funded in a sustainable way.

“We need to start working on the maths now, not leave it till later when a government ends up with a shock about the real cost and becomes less enthusiastic about continuing with these well-overdue changes,” says Garth.

Ends

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