The New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services praised additional funding for a wide range of support services in the Budget, saying that it would be of great help to those who suffer Covid-19-related hardship.
NZCCSS executive officer Trevor McGlinchey said the funding would help social services “step up to provide the support families, whānau and communities need”.
But the Budget did not introduce some moves that the NZCCSS had hoped for.
Prior to the Budget, the NZCCSS called for structural change to the benefit system so that those who need welfare receive enough income to meet their basic needs. This would reduce the overall demand for crisis support and social services, it said.
“NZCCSS is disappointed that the structural change that is needed in the welfare system has not been implemented. The Budget has maintained the benefit status quo, with only small increases in income. As a result of this lack of change, many more New Zealanders will be impacted by poverty and hardship”, McGlinchey said.
The council added that an ongoing process is needed for increasing funding for the social service sector and for building up the sector’s capability to ensure community and social service organisations are well positioned to meet the increasing needs going forward, notably when increased unemployment and hardship are forecast.
“While this Budget delivered significant additional funding into areas such as family violence services, food rescue, foodbanks, rural communities and public housing, only a small amount of funding was provided to support organisations to address current and historic cost pressures,” Mr McGlinchey said.