ANZASW statement on the new Carers’ Strategy Action Plan
The Aotearoa New Zealand Association of Social Workers (ANZASW) welcomes the development of a new Carers’ Strategy Action Plan, announced by the government this week. Although the details of the Plan are yet to finalised, it raises our hopes that carers will be provided with greater support in line with their responsibilities and needs.
It is estimated that there are more than 400,000 carers in New Zealand, a majority of which are women. They often leave work to selflessly to provide care for a loved one or friend who is elderly, unwell, injured, in crisis or disabled, taking a cut to their income and leisure time in the process; in many cases leaving them unable to receive KiwiSaver contributions, save for retirement, study, pay deposits on housing and much more besides. Long-term carers often sacrifice their careers to enhance the well-being of those they care for.
At the present time, the support provided to carers by the state in many cases fails to fully meet the drop in household income caused by individuals taking up a caring role. ANZASW supports moves that would see carers more adequately compensated for their work so that they are able to live satisfied lives while providing assistance to loved ones.
We also hope that access to respite will be expanded and incorporated into the planned transition from the Carer Support Allowance into the new “I Choose” initiative.
Social workers support carers and their beneficiaries through a variety of means and strategies, emphasising the importance of enhancing self-determination, dignity and fulfilment. Social work practitioners often see first-hand the poor outcomes and strain imposed on family / whanau and communities that struggle to make ends meet while supporting a loved one that requires intensive assistance.
As the Strategy Action Plan develops, the Association looks forward to a wide-ranging consultation process that engages closely with experts, carers, those who receive care, Peak Bodies and service providers.
We encourage carers to participate in the online survey which is open until the 31st October, in order to share their concerns and insights with the government as they develop the new Action Plan.
The survey can be found here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/GQVN8ZJ