New Budget missing ‘care’ factor for elderly care staff in New Zealand

May 26, 2021

New Budget missing ‘care’ factor for elderly care staff in New Zealand

President of Grey Power New Zealand says employing an aged care commissioner would make life easier for aged-care workers. Photo: Nikki Smith

Elderly care associations say the Government’s new budget lacks the support needed for adequate health care.

Chief Executive of the New Zealand Aged Care Association, Simon Wallace, says the new budget is “a kick in the guts for staff who have protected the most vulnerable New Zealanders during the pandemic.”

According to Careers NZ, Government funding for elderly care workers is just $85 million, equating to just $21-$22 per hour for support workers of experience up to eight years, and $23-$25 per hour for support workers of experience exceeding eight years.

This is just above the average pay rate of hospitality workers - $20.08.

Mr Wallace says despite inadequate pay, workers are being approached to work in public hospitals in New Zealand and Australia to ensure the requirements under covid are met.

“Shortages are likely to worsen with Australia’s aged care sector an increasingly attractive option for nurses thanks to a multi-billion-dollar budget injection last week.”

President of Grey Power New Zealand, Jan Pentecost, says employing an aged care commissioner would make life easier for aged-care workers.

“It is expected that New Zealand’s elderly population will make up 25% of the entire country’s population, and the new budget announcement does not appear to encompass this.”

Pentecost says there needs to be further care for support workers to ensure seniors are benefited by quality service and adequate staff numbers.

Home support workers are giving up their family time and having to pay travel for long/overnight shifts themselves.

Age Concern New Zealand says while they provide community services for at home support, they cannot comment at this stage on whether the budget has increased to include support for the elderly.

They are set to meet with the Minister of Finance early next week.

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