29 Sep 2011

Labour releases aged care policy

7:51 pm on 29 September 2011

The Labour Party says it will introduce regulations for minimum staffing levels in all residential aged care facilities if elected.

The party announced its new aged care policy on Thursday as unions handed over nearly 11,000 signed charters to MPs asking for the Government to ensure quality care for older New Zealanders.

The New Zealand Nurse's Union and the Service and Food Worker's Union say the charter asks for safe staffing, more training and pay parity with public health sector workers.

Labour's aged care spokesperson Steve Chadwick told the unions at Parliament the funding and delivery of care for older people in New Zealand faces significant strain as the population ages and costs rise.

Ms Chadwick says the sector faces a critical shortage of qualified staff and Labour would develop a government-funded national training programme for all workers in residential and home-based care.

Labour says it is committed, over time, to achieving pay parity between carers in the private and public sector.

"Labour is committed to pay parity. We think that valuing staff and having qualified staff is the best way you get quality back into the sector," Ms Chadwick says.

The election will be held on 26 November.