Support for Many, But Social Services Will Continue to Struggle
“This Budget has not recognised the extremely dire situation that community social services are experiencing”, said
Trevor McGlinchey, Executive Officer New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services. “While, we are pleased to see the
initiatives which will begin to address the needs of those in our communities who are living in poverty, the social
services organisations who can support families and whanau to make the most of these new opportunities continue to be
starved of resources. Like the primary health system, community social services provide support and treatment for
families before their issues spiral out of control and need expensive higher-level services”.
The 2018 Budget has responded to the many signals from communities regarding the needs of their people, lack of housing,
inability to meet their health needs, needs for improved schools, more teachers, and improved funding for ECE and
special education. This, along with increases in income and accommodation support delivered through the Families Package
will see positive improvements in the wellbeing of some of those who live in poverty.
In the social services sector we see a much-needed boost in funding for community-based Family Violence services, which
is fantastic news for this sector. The increasing funding going to community based transitional housing and Housing
First initiatives is what is needed to support those who are homeless to be homed for the long-term. Equally we hope
that some of the resources for reducing the prison population will be channelled to community organisations which
support the reintegration of those released from prisons. The ever-growing Oranga Tamariki – Ministry for Children
receives a significant funding boost ($269.9 million over 4 years) to “expand its services”.
The core community-based social services sector received no additional funding. This sector has received no increases in
funding for 10 years – not even a cost of living increase. Yet they provide essential services for hundreds of thousands
of New Zealand’s most vulnerable citizens. The New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services has worked with other
social services umbrella organisations to alert Ministers to the situation of community providers and the impacts of
this sustained lack of funding.
“Community social services are struggling to survive, we are likely to see further reductions and rationing of essential
community services as organisations try to remain sustainable”, said McGlinchey. “We must have an interim funding
programme for these organisations so they can properly support our communities until a more sustainable funding model is