PSA and NZHHA Tuesday 29 May 2012, 1:18PM
Media release from PSA and NZHHA
The Public Service Association and the New Zealand Home Health
Association say it's disappointing to see some District Health
Boards refusing to pass on annual adjustment increases to home
support providers, in light of the Human Rights Commission report
into aged care.
The Human Rights Commission Inquiry into Equal Employment
Opportunities in the aged care sector says carers are grossly
undervalued and has highlighted serious issues of underfunding, low
pay, and pay inequity.
District Health Boards receive an annual increase from the
government to cover the normal cost pressures that they and
contracting health providers incur.
NZHHA Chief Executive Julie Haggie says last year, five out of the
21 DHBs kept the money themselves and the Northland DHB has just
advised that it won't be passing any of its Contribution to Cost
Pressure increase on to providers for the third year in a
"That means Northland providers have had no adjustment in rate
since 2009 yet during that time they have faced big cost increases
such as Kiwisaver, ACC levies and increases to the minimum
wage. All this affects how much they can pay carers."
She says "while residential aged care providers can negotiate a
national rate, rates for home support and other community providers
vary across DHBs. There is a 26% difference between the
highest rate and the lowest rate, and in the very lowest paying
areas like Whanganui, Northland, Hawkes Bay and Mid Central,
providers have had to cut training and supervision just to meet
increased costs. This isn't a sector where there are huge
profit margins and providers run on the smell of a not very oily
PSA National Secretary Richard Wagstaff says by not passing on the
annual adjustment, DHBs are reflecting the lack of wider government
commitment towards both the aged care and disability sectors.
"It's disappointing to hear the government respond to this report
by continuing to say it cannot afford to properly fund what is a
chronically underfunded sector and bring pay rates up, yet it can
give high income earners millions of dollars in tax cuts.
It's about choices."
"People deserve to be paid for the skill, complexity and
responsibility of the work they do, and funding levels must reflect
that. For the government not to act on this report would be
irresponsible and will continue the historical injustices of pay
inequity and low pay for thousands of workers," Mr Wagstaff
In the interests of support workers and the elderly, the NZHHA and
the PSA are calling on the Government, DHBs, funders, providers and
all unions in the sector to face up to the challenges of the HRC
report and take urgent action on its recommendations.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
NZHHA Chief Executive Julie Haggie - 04-4723196 or 027989126
PSA National Secretary Richard Wagstaff - 0272778131
Media Contact - Liz Brown 0276005498