Budget 2018: Funding for family and sexual violence response, central agent
Tue 22 May 2018
Budget 2018 was announced on 17 May 2018. The Budget included funding for a new national agent to lead and coordinate the family and sexual violence ...
Budget 2018 was announced on 17 May 2018. The Budget included funding for a new national agent to lead and coordinate the family and sexual violence system and some increased funding for sexual violence services. Additional funding for family violence services was announced the week prior to the Budget.
Family and sexual violence central coordinating agent
Justice Minister Andrew Little and Associate Minister Aupito William Sio announced $2 million in operating funding for 2018/19 for a Family and Sexual Violence Central Agent. The funding is to cover the initial policy work to set up the agent, which will coordinate public sector and non-government organisation efforts to address family and sexual violence.
The cross-government Family and Sexual Violence Work Programme sent out a special email update about the Budget 2018 funding. Specific to the new coordinating agent or body, the update notes:
"The body will set a clear direction for the Government’s commitment to prevent and reduce family and sexual violence, with a collective strategy designed in partnership with the sector, Māori and other stakeholders. The body will identify gaps in the system, inform the allocation of family and sexual violence investment across agencies, facilitate solutions by Māori, for Māori, and lead the system transformation needed so that we can reduce family and sexual violence."
You can subscribe to future Family and Sexual Violence Work Programme updates by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Funding for sexual violence services
$7.5 million of operating funding has been allocated over four years for sexual abuse assessment and treatment services co-funded by ACC, NZ Police and the Ministry of Health. ACC Minister Iain Lees-Galloway said "... Budget 2018 has increased funding to services that work to prevent sexual abuse, and support victims through treatment."
"This Government is committed to ensuring people are supported and violence is prevented. Our plan includes properly resourcing sexual abuse assessment and treatment services, so I’m pleased that these crucial services are receiving the first significant funding increase from central government since 2008. It has been long overdue."
Media recently reported that some victims of sexual assault have been waiting more than a year for counselling services through ACC. Specialist sexual violence providers have previously reported significant increases in service demand above their funding levels.
Other key announcements included:
- $7.7 million extra operating funding over the next four years for the Whānau Protect National Home Safety Service, which assists high-risk victims of family violence to remain in their home after leaving violence.
- $13.5 million extra operating funding over four years for Victim Support.
- $2.2 million extra operating funding in 2018/19 for Community Law Centres.
- $269.9 million over the next four years for operating funding and to expand Oranga Tamariki. This includes $2.2 million for a one-year trial to "improve the Family Group Conference process for tamariki Māori."
- The Government's Families Package including benefit and tax credit changes.
- Restoring $1.9 million of funding to the Growing Up in New Zealand study. The funding will allow the study to invite all of the 6800-plus families who have been part of the study since it began to participate in the current round of data collection. (The previous Government had cut funding meaning data could only be collected from 2000 children.) The restoration of funding will allow more detailed analysis of ethnic groups such as Māori and Pacific peoples.
- The Government announced previously $76 million of new funding for family and sexual violence. This funding is primarily for frontline family violence service providers funded by the Ministry of Social Development. Agencies have raised concerns that this new funding will not be available for prevention or agencies funded by Oranga Tamariki.
Funding for Whānau Ora
The Budget did not include any new funding for Whānau Ora. Whānau Ora Minister Peeni Henare has told Waatea News that funding for Whānau Ora will depend on the review of Whānau Ora currently underway. Minister Henare announced details of the review in April of this year.
The North Island Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency Te Pou Matakana Chair Merepeka Raukawa-Tait was disappointed with the lack of increased funding, saying Labour had promised an extra $20 million over four years for Whānau Ora. Listen to an interview with Ms Raukawa-Tait on Te Karere TVNZ. Māori Party President Che Wilson also said he was disappointed with the mainstreaming approach of the budget. Increased funding for Whānau Ora was one item on Hāpai Te Hauora's Māori Public Health Budget 2018 Wishlist.
Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta said Māori Development funding in Budget 2018 was focused on papakāinga housing development, improving administration of whenua Māori, expanding training opportunities for rangatahi, and promoting Māori Wardens. However, concerns have been raised that funding for Māori is limited and has in fact decreased, with Te Puni Kōkiri losing $3 million of baseline funding over the next four years. (See also further responses in the media list below). In a joint Ministerial announcement with other Māori Ministers, Crown/Māori Relations Minister Kelvin Davis said "We cannot fix all the challenges Māori face in a single Budget – but we are starting to turn things around. We are building the foundations for a future full of Māori success."
Funding for social service non-government organisations (NGOs)
A number of advocates have highlighted that the Budget approach does not increase funding for many social service NGOs. Social Service Providers Aotearoa (SSPA) national manager Brenda Pilott welcome the news, but raised concerns about inadequate for NGOs:
“We are encouraged by this year’s funding increase for family violence services and by the Minister of Finance’s promise of a strong focus on social wellbeing in Budget 2019. But we are very concerned that, in the meantime, some services are stretched to breaking point and won’t be able to last another year without financial relief.”
"From a social work perspective, we also welcome the increase in funding that has been directed toward Oranga Tamariki and for community-based Family Violence Services. However, we regret that the core community based social services sector has received no additional funding, despite its role in providing indispensable services to many vulnerable New Zealanders."
The New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services (NZCCSS) also highlighted the difficult financial situation of core community-based social services. NZCCSS Executive Officer Trevor McGlinchey said "Community social services are struggling to survive, we are likely to see further reductions and rationing of essential community services as organisations try to remain sustainable." See the NZCCSS Policy Watch: Budget 2018 Special newsletter for a brief analysis of the budget.
For more information:
See the Budget 2018 website. Also the NZ Herald summary article that includes key highlights, links to speeches and key press releases and the Māori Television summary article and story, Tahua 2018 which examines what the Budget includes for Māori. Other responses to the Budget are included in the media list below.