The $832.5 million funding injection over the next 5 years is an effort from the Coalition government to address the rightfully increased needs and unmet expectations from the disabled community. This includes $103.7 million in funding for the current financial year.
According to Associate Minister of Health Jenny Salesa, this budget increase is to ensure that people with disabilities are “part of an inclusive recovery where we rebuild better” following the COVID-19 pandemic.
This marks the third consecutive year of disability funding increases by the Coalition government, following a $211 million dollar increase in 2018, and a $348 million increase in the 2019 Wellbeing budget.
Salesa discussed that these funding changes came after witnessing how disability support services had “failed to keep pace with rising demand by people with disabilities and their families” under the previous government, and that the financial pressure the system was under led to “reduced access to frontline support services.”
Some of the things that this funding will cover are “support for showering, cleaning, and hands-on care; accommodation for those with high needs; equipment for mobility and access; respite for family/whanau carers; rehabilitation for people following a serious illness; and secure court-ordered care.”
In addition to these budget increases, $12 million in funding has been invested in carrying out and assessing the results of pilot studies all around the country, which are aimed at innovating and transforming the disability support system into something that gives disabled people and their carers more choice and control.
“We know that adequately funding disability support is fundamental to rebuilding New Zealand to be a caring, inclusive society where people with disabilities are empowered to live fulfilling lives. This Budget’s substantial increase represents real progress.”