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Strike notice 'reflects pressure of underfunded disability sector'

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

NZDSN says notice that IDEA Services has been issued with strike action over failed negotiations with a union representing support and admin staff shows the pressure on disability service providers.

The New Zealand Disability Support Network (NZDSN) represents NGO disability service providers throughout the country - most of whom are funded through government contracts. We recently released an independent report completed by Deloitte that helped us conclude that there is at least a $150 million annual shortfall in the disability sector.

IDEA Services is a provider of services to around 4,000 people with intellectual disabilities throughout the country.

Strike notice has been issued for 1 April 2019.

NZDSN Chief Executive Garth Bennie says trusted providers, whether small or large like IDEA Services, are ever trying to improve the quality of the services they provide and recognise the value of the work their staff do, while in real terms their funding is tightening.

"It’s not just the providers who are feeling it," says Garth.

"People with disabilities and their families are constantly telling us they are qualifying for fewer services and fewer options at a time when government changes in the sector are trying to give people more choice and more flexibility about the services they use.

"If we don’t see a change soon, strikes and more cuts are an inevitable consequence as we see an underfunded sector move beyond breaking point.

"The sector simply doesn't have enough money to meet demand from staff and the people they work so hard to support.

"This is the cumulative effect of over a decade of underfunding."

The NZDSN/Deloitte report Funding and Financial Analysis: New Zealand Disability Support Providers can be read

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