“We are encouraged by the 2019 Wellbeing Budget and see hopeful signs for the future if this beginning is more strongly built on in future Budgets”, said Trevor McGlinchey, Executive Officer, New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services (NZCCSS). “The investment in our children, in addressing New Zealand’s mental health crisis, in family violence, in addictions and in supporting both Māori and Pasifika aspirations will make a positive difference in the lives of many of those who the NZCCSS member social service organisations serve”.
Real progress will be made when we, as a nation, also address the systemic drivers that lead to stress and lack of hope. It is these systemic drivers which create the mental health issues, family violence and addictions in peoples’ lives. This budget does not provide for a significant increase of incomes for those on benefits. It provides very little to address the huge housing need which underpins much of the lack of wellbeing experienced by poor New Zealanders. These are the significant changes we expect to see in future Budgets.
The increase in the range of services being provided over the next four years will provide much needed services in our communities. The roll-out of new services will provide some income streams for community/NGO social service providers who have been underfunded for many years. While some additional cost pressure funding is being made available for existing services, the totality of this funding will not address such factors as the pay differential between Oranga Tamariki and NGO employed social workers.
“Overall, this Budget is investing more heavily in families and children than any Budgets in the recent past, says Trevor McGlinchey. “While it may not be wholly transformational, particularly in addressing structural issues such as income for those on benefits or access to affordable quality housing, it does provide a hopeful start to building wellbeing”.