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Labour On Attack On Welfare Agency Funding

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Annette King
Annette King

Wellington, June 2 NZPA - Labour is accusing the Government of playing smoke and mirror games with welfare agency funding, but National says it is providing the money to get the sector through the recession.

In Parliament today, Social Development Minister Paula Bennett said funding for social services would be maintained through a community response fund that she announced prior to the budget.

She told MPs that the budget showed the fund would get $40 million in the coming financial year and $64m the year after to help overstretched services get through a time of dwindling donations.

Labour's social development spokeswoman Annette King said the fund was under the control of Finance Minister Bill English and had not been allocated to the agencies.

"Why wasn't the $104 million allocated in the budget? It wasn't because Bill English doesn't want to spend it and is playing smoke and mirrors with the sector."

Ms King said the budget showed a range of agencies would suffer funding cuts, including the Anglican Family Care Centre and Barnardos, and a significant number of contracts were still being finalised.

Ms Bennett told MPs that many contracts were due to expire on July 1 and they were being renegotiated.

Later she said in a statement that the Government had to be flexible in how it distributed funding and details on how the fund would work would be released later this week.

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