People with disabilities are being promised better access to showering, cleaning, accommodation, equipment and respite for family carers with a record funding boost.
Today, the largest-ever funding injection for disability support services was announced: an additional $833 million invested in over the five years. That includes $103.7 million for the current financial year.
Associate Minister of Health Jenny Salesa said people with disabilities and their carers would see a long-term commitment from the Coalition Government to lift the support available to New Zealanders with disabilities.
"People with disabilities will see that they will be part of an inclusive recovery where we rebuild better."
CCS Disability Action chief executive David Matthews said the funding boost was well overdue and he welcomed it,
"Obviously, we need to look at the detail of how it is moving through the sector and where it ends up but no one could really complain about a significant funding boost."
He said it would mean families would have access to more support either directly themselves or through organisations like CCS Disability Action.
"Hopefully it will mean we have a little bit more time to assist families with all the challenges including the post Covid recovery period which is still to be seen what impact that has had on families where disability is an issue.
"I would hope that all disabled people are able to benefit from a better funded disability sector where there is less rationed and more focus on real needs."
Salesa said before the Coalition Government, disability support funding was struggling to keep up with the rightful expectations of the disabled community.
"That's why we lifted disability support's funding by $211 million in our first year, and by a further $348 million in the 2019 Wellbeing Budget.
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"For the 2020s, we are substantially lifting the community contribution to the support disabled people need."
She said under the previous government, disability support services funded failed to keep pace with rising demand from people with disabilities and their families.
"The system was put under significant financial pressure and, whether intentional or not, that pressure reduced access to frontline support services.
"This funding is about ensuring access to support for showering, cleaning, and hands-on care; accommodation for those with high needs; equipment for mobility and access; respite for family/whānau carers; rehabilitation for people following a serious illness; and secure court-ordered care."
This year, an additional $12 million went towards assessing the pilots that had been happening around the country.
"It's about disabled people and their families having greater choice and control in their lives," Salesa said.
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"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."
The Government would contribute more than $1.7 billion per year to disability support through the Ministry of Health, DHBs and local providers.
• $833 million to take pressure off disability support services and ensure access.
• $12 million to assess innovations that empower people with disabilities.
• $4.4 million to pay for in-between travel costs for disability carers.