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The Government must step up its support for the aged care sector after the Health Select Committee was told of a number of issues facing residents and workers in the sector, the Green Party said today.
"With the population of New Zealand aging, this problem is not going away. The Government must take action to ensure the aged care sector is adequately funded for fair wages and conditions," said Green Party spokesperson for health Kevin Hague.
"11,000 New Zealanders signed the Quality Care Charter produced by the New Zealand Nurses Organisation and the Service and Food Workers Union which lays out four steps the Government should take to ensure residents get the care they need and workers are respected.
"The Government must adequately fund providers and ensure that these funds are passed on, to enable caregivers in the aged care sector to achieve pay parity with those doing equivalent jobs in hospitals.
"The complete lack of statistics on caregivers in the aged care sector is a major stumbling block to resolving this issue. This data is needed to enable effective health workforce development.
"Aged care workers do a vital job looking after our elderly and should be paid a living wage. Many aged care workers are struggling on, or barely above, the minimum wage of $13.50 per hour, even after more than a decade of service."
For more information:
In 2010 the Green Party joined with the Labour Party and Grey Power to investigate the treatment of the elderly in New Zealand. The report, which identified many of the same issues, is available at http://www.greens.org.nz/sites/default/files/Aged_Care_Report_for_email.pdf