Budget 2024: Overview from the NZFVC

Fri 07 Jun 2024

The Government announced the Budget on 30 May 2024. There is no new funding for family violence and sexual violence.

photo of a person's hands holding a mobile phone with the word budget on the phone and the date 2024 at the bottom of the photo

Budget 2024

In announcing the Budget, the Government emphasised tax relief through savings from the public sector, and funding for frontline services in health, education and law and order, with Prime Minister Christopher Luxon saying:

"By identifying billions of dollars of lower-value spending across the public sector, we have both been able to deliver meaningful tax relief to support Kiwis with the cost of living and invest in key frontline services like healthcare, schools, and the Police.”

In her Budget speech, Finance Minister Nicola Willis said:

"Ministers and their departments have gone line by line through the spending areas they are responsible for. This scrutiny has resulted in more than 240 savings initiatives. Some amount to a few hundred thousand dollars a year, while others save tens of millions. Some reduce the amount of funding available for a particular activity, while others stop things completely."

The Budget 2024 Summary of Initiatives provides a complete list by vote of initiatives that includes 3 types of funding: 1) increased funding for existing initiatives, 2) new funding and 3) savings through of return existing funding.

Additional detail can be found in estimates by Departments and Offices of Parliament Administering Votes. For example see:

The key items below are drawn from the Summary of Initiatives.

New or increased funding:

New or increased funding related to the family violence and sexual violence sector includes:

  • Oranga Tamariki - new funding to address serious youth offending through "a new legislative category in the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989 and a military-style academy pilot"; new funding to continue the Fast Track Youth Offending programme and expand it to 14 to 17 year-olds; new funding to upgrade case and care management digital systems; increased funding for the Crown Response Unit to enable the Crown to respond to the Abuse in Care Royal Commission of Inquiry final report and recommendations; increased funding to cover increased demand and costs for High Needs Children Services that provides specialised caregiving services for disabled children and young people with high support needs in Oranga Tamariki’s care; increased funding to address remuneration for frontline staff.
  • Historical claims of abuse in care - 2 years of time-limited funding to enable the Ministry of Social Development to resolve a further 2,000 claims of historic abuse of people in care.
  • Disability Support Services - $1.1 billion for Whaikaha — Ministry of Disabled People for continued support to disabled people and their families.
  • Te Ao Mārama programme - funding to potentially expand the programme to additional sites but initially held "...in contingency while the Ministry of Justice focuses on the implementation of the programme in existing sites and gathers information about effectiveness".
  • Mental Health and Addiction Community Sector Innovation Fund - funding for a national Mental Health and Addiction Community Sector Innovation Fund for community organisations to apply for funding of innovative time-limited approaches to address mental health and wellbeing needs.
  • Financial grants to victims of serious crime - operating funding to increase financial grants to victims of serious crime.
  • Police - one year of time-limited funding to address cost pressures and previously announced additional frontline police.
  • Corrections - previously announced increased funding for frontline staff and expanding prison capacity; new funding held in contingency to extend access to rehabilitation programmes for remand prisoners (the Summary of Initiatives notes "The funding will be drawn down pending a comprehensive review of rehabilitation services and an implementation plan based on this review.").
  • Courts - previously announced funding for Courts to implement the reintroduction of the 3 strikes regime to sentencing and to implement the "the Government’s crackdown on gangs" - this includes "...banning of gang insignia in public places, greater powers to stop gangs associating and giving greater weight to gang membership at sentencing".
  • Social investment approach - previously announced funding to implement a social investment approach, to establish the Social Investment Fund, to establish a new Social Investment Agency, and to "...support devolution of social services to regional partners and support better use of government administrative data".
  • Social housing - previously announced funding for 1,500 social housing places to be provided through Community Housing Providers.

For more information see the government media releases below.

Savings through return of existing funding:

There is limited detail about the cost savings in the Summary of Initiatives. It often refers to improving efficiencies, reducing workforce or unused contingency funds without identifying specific areas of work that will be affected. It does not necessarily reflect stopping or discontinuing services, unless specifically stated. Again, some detail can be found in the estimates by Departments and Offices of Parliament Administering Votes.

For example, under the Justice Vote, it notes a savings of $461,000 over 4 years related to the Prevention of Family Violence and Sexual Violence (page 62). Other areas of savings in the Justice Vote include the Criminal Cases Review Commission, Human Rights Commission, Justice Sector Directorate, Legal Aid, the Mana Ōrite Agreement between the Justice Sector Leadership Board and Ināia Tonu Nei, and the victims of crime improving outcomes operating model.

In the Oranga Tamariki Vote it notes $120 million in cost savings over 4 years from "Contracting Service Costs" and states:

"This savings initiative returns funding from contracts with third-party providers. These will be drawn from under-utilised services and fee-for-service arrangements, which will be replaced by more efficient and consistent formal arrangements. This initiative improves the efficiency of service delivery, with no reduction in frontline services."

Savings at the Ministry for Women included rescoping the policy work programme, stating:

"This savings initiative returns funding by reducing the scope of the existing policy work programme to align with Government priorities. It includes reducing investment on in-house data and insights capability, reducing contributions to the Public Service Commission’s Equal Pay Taskforce and reducing expenditure on the refresh of the Bringing Gender In tool."

Other areas related to the sector where savings are identified include Crown Law Office workforce, Crown Prosecution Service, closure of the Government Centre for Dispute Resolution, research funds (for example Marsden and Health Research), Court and Coronial Services Initiatives (including Court interpreters), the Ministry of Justice Cultural Capability programme, initiatives related to emergency housing and Rangatahi Youth Transitional Housing, the National Centre of Research Excellence for Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism, closure of the Ministry of Social Development's Community Innovation Fund, discontinuation of the Living in Aotearoa Survey, and Workforce Development Councils.

The Summary of Initiatives also includes the list of savings by department across all government departments under the Government's initiative requiring agencies to identify either a 6.5% or 7.5% savings. The Executive Board for the Elimination of Family Violence and Sexual Violence identified $1.3 million operating annual average savings across 5 years to reach the 6.5% target, but Table 4 of the Summary of Initiatives shows there is no baseline reduction. Media outlet Stuff reported that these cuts would not be going ahead.

Also see our previous news story identifying potential impacts from budget cuts for government agencies.

Government media releases related to Budget 2024

Community and advocate responses

Advocates and sector representatives have raised concerns about the impacts of the savings cuts and the focus of funding in Budget 2024:

Social Service Providers Te Pai Ora o Aotearoa (Te Pai Ora SSPA) said "...it does not see a clear direction for community-based social service providers around Aotearoa New Zealand in Budget 2024." Te Pai Ora SSPA Chief Executive Belinda Himiona said:

"The reduction in funding for contracting through Oranga Tamariki in effect sets a savings target but we have not seen a reduction in the need for these services. We need to know the extent of funding decreases to understand the impact this will have on frontline services for families, communities and providers."

She also said:

"Critical to the success of community-based social services is a well-paid and valued workforce. It is disappointing that even after the social worker pay equity settlement and extension process, we again see our workforce undervalued and not given a pay increase equivalent to the Oranga Tamariki staffing increase signaled in this Budget."

Hui E Community Aotearoa highlighted how the budget cuts will impact the tangata whenua, community and voluntary sector:

"Funds that communities have been able to access in the wake of COVID-19 and climate emergency events have fallen off a cliff, such as the end of the $35 million cultural sector COVID-19 funding and a $30 million decrease in funding for Community Connection services, despite organisations reporting high levels of continued need.

Less visible are the ripples out to small organisations and groups that will be competing for reduced funding at the same time as facing this increased need. Community sport programmes, community-led development, budgeting services and community-based justice services are some of those affected. The Māori Development Fund has been cut by more than half and across Community Support Services the non-renewal of contracts expiring in June this year foreshadows further cuts.

Cuts to the public sector mean reductions in roles and capacity to engage with the tangata whenua, community and voluntary sector, and the inclusion of community voice in decision-making. Also notable is reduced funding to lift procurement capability across the public sector. Complex application and monitoring processes have been a long-term bugbear of community organisations."

Te Kāhui Tika Tangata Human Rights Commission raised many concerns about lack of funding and cuts to government agencies noting a lack of funding for Māori development, lack of support for Rainbow Communities, not renewing dedicated funding and support for families affected by the March 15 terror attacks in Christchurch, and impacts from reduced funding to Te Puni Kōkiri, the Ministry for Pacific Peoples and the Ministry for Ethnic Communities. Acting Chief Human Rights Commissioner Dr Saunoamaali’i Karanina Sumeo said:

“We encourage the Government to commit to te Tiriti o Waitangi and human rights and prioritise investment in communities already living with poor health, social, economic, education and criminal justice outcomes.”

Julia Whaipooti, Te Kāhui Tika Tangata Human Rights Commission's tatau urutahi | shared leader, wrote an op ed for RNZ, Budget 2024 does not fulfil te Tiriti obligations. See further information in the related media about how the Budget fails to meet the needs of Māori.

New Zealand Disability Support Network CEO Peter Reynolds said:

"We see the $1.1 billion allocated in the Budget to ‘address demand’ as code for meeting growth or inflation costs only. No-one’s support quality or availability will increase. It sounds like a lot of money but unfortunately it won’t cover providers’ cost increases for very long."

The Child Poverty Action Group raised concerns about how the Budget would contribute to rising child poverty, and fails to meet the financial needs for disability services. For more information see the Government's Child Poverty Report 2024, included in Budget 2024.

The New Zealand Law Society's overview of Budget 2024 for the legal profession highlights concerns with legal aid and future changes to youth offending, among other issues.

Update: UNICEF Aotearoa acting CEO Laura Bond said:

"Every day, across Aotearoa, children and young people are looking for opportunities to have a say in their own futures. The Government has obligations as a signatory to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child to ensure they listen to children, their needs are met and their rights are upheld."

"The Government showed its hand in this Budget, leaving children and young people out. It risks falling short of its obligations to children and young people. Now is the time for our leaders to engage with the youth of Aotearoa as a matter of urgency."

See further criticisms and commentary in the related media below.

Related research

Researchers from the UK interviewed leaders in the specialist sexual violence sector about their experiences with funding and commissioning as part of a 3 year research project. Their article outlines how funding and commissioning dynamics push individuals to the edge of service sustainability, job satisfaction, and emotional well-being. They highlight that too frequently funding and commissioning frameworks don't work in ways that sustain sexual violence services. They advocate for:

"...commissioners and funders to make it easier for SVSSV services, including minoritized women services, to work in partnership to build capacity and strengthen structures for referral and multiagency working. Such approaches would serve to promote unity over competition, collaboration in the envisaging of new approaches to service sustainability and exploration of formal partnership/consortia working to expand the size, scope, reach, intersectional approach, and voice of specialist provision."

Read the full article Working the Edge: The Emotional Experiences of Commissioning and Funding Arrangements for Service Leaders in the Sexual Violence Voluntary Sector (2024) published in the Violence Against Women journal.

The Ministry of Social Development published A report outlining family violence and sexual violence service gaps in Aotearoa (2024) on the Te Puna Aonui website. The report outlines gaps in family violence and sexual violence services. This work is part of addressing Actions 29 and 30 of Te Aorerekura Action Plan, and involved public consultation. The report identifies gaps in 5 broad areas:

  • family violence and sexual violence workforce capability
  • gaps in holistic services (identified as "whānau-centred, wrap-around support from early intervention to long term health")
  • sexual violence service gaps
  • gaps in accessibility of safe houses and availability of emergency accommodation
  • expanding and developing tailored services to meet the needs of tangata whenua and people from diverse communities.

    Related media

    Ministry of Justice outlines change proposal, Ministry of Justice news, 07.06.2024

    Budget 2024: Increases to court and tribunal fees, NZ Law Society news, 06.06.2024

    Funding cuts alarm social agencies, Waatea News, 06.06.2024 (listen to the full interview with Belinda Himiona | Chief Executive Te Pai Ora SSPA on Waatea News)

    Cuts to Public Services and Social Support in the 2024 Budget w/ Coordinator of Auckland Action Against Poverty, Brooke Stanley: 5 June, 2024, 95bFM, 05.06.2024

    Get Action! Say NO to Youth Offender Boot Camps w Clara Donne: 5 June, 2024, 95bFM, 05.06.2024

    Terrorism and violent extremism research funding cut by two-thirds, RNZ, 05.06.2024

    Whānau Ora providers face reduced putea, Waatea News, 05.06.2024

    Budget allows kōhanga building refresh, Waatea News, 05.06.2024

    Māori biggest losers in Budget 2024, Waatea News, 03.06.2024

    Budget 2024: Disappointment over broken promise to fund more mental health specialists, RNZ, 03.06.2024

    What is in Budget 2024 for Māori?, RNZ, 31.05.2024

    Budget 2024: starving the future’s needs to pay for today’s politics, The Spinoff, 31.05.2024

    Māori programmes savaged in Budget, Waatea News, 31.05.2024

    Extra cash for Disability Ministry but cost pressures loom, Newsroom, 31.05.2024

    Budget 2024: Putting political survival ahead of investment needs, The Post, 30.05.2024

    Budget 2024 and the future of NZ’s science sector – Expert Reaction, Science Media Centre, 30.05.2024

    Media Release: Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency budget remains unchanged, Waatea News, 30.05.2024

    Budget 2024: Advocates say low income Kiwis, disabled people not prioritised, NZ Herald, 30.05.2024

    Whānau Ora a shining example of social investment, Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu media release, 30.05.2024

    Sallies call for compassion in Budget, Waatea News, 29.05.2024

    Mega-prison “cage for Māori”, Waatea News, 29.05.2024

    Image: Tima Miroshnichenko on Pexels

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