20 May 2015

Government warned plans could backfire

9:30 pm on 20 May 2015

The body representing social services providers is worried a shake-up in funding for services could mean the poorest people will just fall deeper into poverty.

child poverty

Photo: 123RF

A Cabinet paper from the Social Development Minister, Anne Tolley, which has been obtained by Radio New Zealand News, says it wants the money those organisations get tied much more specifically to improve the lives of children and their families.

The leaked paper says the shake-up could mean some providers might have to lay off staff or cease operations as a result of the proposed changes.

National manager of Social Service Providers Aotearoa Tara D'Sousa said she understands funding will be diverted towards Whanau Ora, and the Childrens Action Plan.

"Some of the preventative services that might have their funding re-prioritised towards the Childrens Action Plan and Whanau Ora might reduce the preventative work that's happening to stop people from falling into poverty and more material hardship," said Tara D'Sousa.

Social Development Minister Anne Tolley said a decision on whether funding for social services providers will change would be made in the next couple of months.

She said the Government had been working with the sector since mid 2012 to develop the strategy.

"The reaction I get around the country is 'hurry up and get on with it' because A - we'll gather good evidence about what works and B - we will start rewarding those programmes that actually have an effect on people's lives."

Mrs Tolley said no decision had been made on whether the organisations would be given more money for the planned change-over.

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