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Source: New Zealand Labour Party

The Minister for Disability Issues must act urgently to reinstate flexibility around the funding for disability support and apologise to disabled carers.

“Ever since changes to funding flexibility for disabled people and their carers were quietly made and implemented on Monday, the disabled community has been rightly angry and upset,” disabilities spokesperson Priyanca Radhakrishnan said.

“I’ve had so many people get in touch with me concerned about what the next weeks and months mean for them if they can’t access services previously funded. For many, caring for somebody with a disability is a 24/7 job and this funding is the only thing that allows them to catch a break.

“Yesterday’s u-turn was just painting over cracks of National’s own making. The Minister says she wants funding going to those with the greatest needs – how does she determine need? The wellbeing of disabled people relies on their carers, and carers need respite in order to have the capacity to care for the disabled person.

“Disabilities Minister Penny Simmonds and Finance Minister Nicola Willis must act urgently to reinstate funding flexibility and give communities a say on any changes.

“Penny Simmonds should also apologise for her belittling comments about people who give so much of their lives caring for disabled whānau.

“I am shocked that we have a Minister who knew about issues around funding in December but didn’t take any action on behalf of the communities she is supposed to represent. She has a chance now to make it right and she should apologise and act fast,” Priyanca Radhakrishnan said.

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