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Commitment needed for funding social services

Media Release: NZ Council of Christian Social Services

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Cross-party commitment needed for funding social services

Moves made this year to "fully fund" essential social services need to be continued in 2009, and beyond says the New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services (NZCCSS).

"We don't believe the success of the current Pathway to Partnership model can be fully judged until it has really been allowed to run its course," says Ross Kendrew, NZCCSS President.

"Having said that, we think that the next government needs to do more to place its approach to essential social services within the context of an overarching framework for the development of all non-government social services in Aotearoa New Zealand".

"Our Council has been advocating for some years for an overarching strategy that provides a framework for service development, funding decisions, and that recognises the mosaic of services that exist to support families. The Pathway to Partnership model being implemented by the Ministry of Social Development currently lacks that framework".

"The rate at which money is being released is not as big an issue, we believe, as putting the right model in place".

"Many providers of government contracted social services have existed for many years on funding of less than 60 percent of the value of those services. That has never been good enough and that is why we welcomed the announcement in February this year that the emphasis would shift to a partnership-based model consisting of more secure funding across the board, as well as a shift to results-based full funding as soon as practical."

"If we are going to work towards a true partnership with government then we need to know whether there is a cross-party commitment to an objective partnership approach to achieve these goals," says Ross Kendrew.

"As things stand we at least now have some acknowledgement of the need for a pathway, one that can begin to address the real needs that exist in our sector for sustainable investment. The need for this overdue investment may even mean wider funding options as different needs arise, particularly as economic hardship is already creating greater demand for our services".

"The NZ Council of Christian Social Services has consistently advocated for this type of commitment through the series of posters and brochures we have released during the year on core social policy issues, from protecting our children to valuing older people. Our final message, being released at the beginning of November, calls for more support for community-based organisations under the overall theme of 'Let Us Look After Each Other - Aroha tetahi ki tetahi'," says Ross Kendrew.

"We aren't directing that call for more action solely at government. Within the means available to them it is up to all members of society, all social service providers and all government agencies in Aotearoa New Zealand to join the frontline, to keep talking to each other about common solutions and to work together. We, together, can grow a more just and compassionate society."


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