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Giving the disabilities sector the largest slice of the Health Budget will be welcomed, but without details as to where this ‘new’ funding is coming from we can’t be sure others aren’t missing out, Labour’s Disabilities spokesperson Clare Curran said today.
The Government has pledged $132.7 million in new investment and $11.0 million in savings for the disabilities sector.
“This looks good on paper, but with Tony Ryall warning New Zealanders to expect a zero Budget, you have to wonder where the money is coming from.
“If the Government is making cuts in other areas it should be transparent, rather than simply dressing it up as ‘new’ money,” Clare Curran said.
The main areas targeted are home and community support services, one-off funding for additional cochlear implants and follow-up services for adults and children in 2012/13, help with supports like hearing aids, hoists and wheelchair access and residential support services.
“Increased funding for cochlear implants is great. But the $1.3million is unlikely to satisfy the 7,500 people who petitioned Parliament on the issue,” Clare Curran said.
“If the Government has learnt one lesson after cutting home help for older New Zealanders, it is that it can’t do the same in the disabilities sector.
“Yesterday’s landmark Court of Appeal ruling around the discriminatory practice of failing to recognise relatives who care for their disabled family members, made this plain.
“Tony Ryall can talk up his ‘generous’ spend in this sector all he wants, but the fact remains- if National had a comprehensive growth plan, this ‘new’ funding might actually be ‘new’,” Clare Curran said.