NZ government urged to correct a ‘decade of neglect’ in disability services
25 November 2019 at 4:32 pm
A new report says the NZ disability service system needs a $574 million funding injection
Around 15,000 people in New Zealand are missing out on disability support because of a major funding crisis, new research shows.
The New Zealand Disability Support Network (NZDSN) is calling on the NZ government to deliver a substantial boost to disability services in the 2020 budget after its report uncovered a $574 million funding shortfall.
NZDSN chief executive Dr Garth Bennie said it was high time the government delivered on its promise to put wellbeing at the heart of all its decision making.
“The sector is in crisis at every point,” Bennie said.
“What we urgently need is a step change in the government’s approach to correct a decade of neglect and underfunding and put the sector on a sustainable footing.”
Bennie said providers were not funded sufficiently for the services they offered, which had made it difficult for people with disability to get the help they needed.
The report estimated there were 15,000 people with disability who were eligible for support but missing out.
“[That is] another 25 per cent on top of those currently in the system, who are eligible to receive support,” Bennie said.
“It is also very likely that this additional group are disproportionately Maori, Pacific Peoples, poor and rural.”
NZ Health Minister Dr David Clark said last month the government was trying to turn around a disability system that had been “woefully underfunded and neglected”.
Bennie said he wanted to work with the NZ government to help achieve this.
“It is time for the government to deliver so we can truly enable good lives for all disabled people and their families in our communities,” he said.