This is what happens when you give landlords a big tax cut #1

Written By: - Date published: 3:34 pm, March 20th, 2024 - 57 comments
Categories: disability, Economy, national, same old national, Social issues - Tags:

Remember how National promised to attack backroom bloat but not touch frontline services?

It seems that it has a different definition of these terms. Because National has put an abrupt halt on funding given to support for families of disabled Kiwis.

Respondible Minister Penny Simmonds has chosen to respond to the issue by initially suggesting the funding was being abused but then claiming it was all Labour’s fault because it had set the budget. While Labour did funding pressures happen all of the time and what usually happens is that further funding is allocated.

But to cut the funding without even consulting or warning the sector it was on the way has caused major disruptions. And a great deal of angst.

Yesterday Simmonds poured petrol on the situation by claiming that it was not a cut but a policy situation to stop parents from using the fund for their “personal care”.

From TVNZ:

Minister for Disability Issues Penny Simmonds says criticism of a funding cap for equipment for disabled people is “absolute rubbish” — and has revealed her ministry is within “days” of running out of its funding.

She claimed carers had been taking advantage of a “broad” funding criteria to use public money “for massages, overseas travel, pedicures, haircuts” for themselves.

Earlier today, Labour leader Chris Hipkins said the disability community will pay for the Government’s “fiscal incompetence”, with restrictions on funding for equipment and modification services.

The change — cited as due to financial pressures on Government departments — was announced by Whaikaha the Ministry for Disabled People on Monday after an email leak.

It announced it would make changes to its purchasing rules “to clarify how people can use their disability support funding”. The changes were effective immediately.

Simmonds has subsequently attempted to walk back her earlier comments by blaming the Ministry.

From Radio New Zealand:

Whaikaha, the Ministry for Disabled People has done an inadequate job in conveying changes to disabled people’s funding, Minister for Disability Issues Penny Simmonds says.

The ministry has unveiled changes to purchasing rules for disabled people’s equipment and support services.

Labour’s Disability Issues spokesperson Priyanca Radhakrishnan said funding was effectively being cut, the changes reduced flexibility and choice and took the sector back 20 years.

One of those affected is Joshua Perry, who lives at home in Dunedin. He feared he couldn’t afford to pay for caregivers to travel with him for work and shopping.

However, Simmonds clarified on Morning Report on Wednesday the cuts would not affect those travelling within their community.

This incident speaks volumes about the Government’s priorities. It is happy to wreck havoc on the public service trying to find money to pay for tax cuts for landlords. But it cannot find money to help some of our families that are in dire circumstances.

And if Simmonds is right and the Ministry was days away from running out of money then you have to wonder what she has been doing in the lead up to the problem.

National’s promise to only cut backroom bloat is looking increasingly shaky. As does its chances of winning the next election.

57 comments on “This is what happens when you give landlords a big tax cut #1 ”

  1. AB 1

    Thanks Mickey. I have some first-hand experience in this area. Let me just say this.

    If an exhausted woman who has been looking after her disabled child gets a pedicure in order to feel better about herself for a while, I say "fill your boots". Go somewhere expensive and get a decent job done. Choose a nice colour for your toenails that you really like and wiggle your toes with happiness. In particular, wiggle them in contempt at the sadistic, moralising turds who would condemn you for this, despite them having no inkling of how physically and emotionally hard it is to do what you do.

  2. Drowsy M. Kram 2

    Here's how [landLord] Willis reacted when asked about how much she stood to personally receive from her party’s tax cut proposals:

    ’In our family of two incomes we’d get $80 a fortnight. And kids, that means instead of movie night meaning DVDs and Tip Top at home, we might go out to the movies.”

    https://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL2308/S00055/on-nationals-tax-cuts.htm

    "Bottom feeders" (you know who you are) have been bleeding landLords and wealthy Kiwis dry for far too long – Enough is Enough!

    Time those leeches experienced, in some small measure, the pain, mental anguish, suffering and humiliation of "DVDs and Tip Top at home" – "the horror, the horror".


    https://thespinoff.co.nz/society/16-08-2022/the-side-eyes-two-new-zealands-the-table

    Optics and illusions in politics [16 March 2024]
    There must have been at least some degree of political discomfort about a tax break for landlords coming when so many New Zealanders who don’t own rental properties are “doing it tough”, as Prime Minister Christopher Luxon likes to say. It didn’t help that it came just days after a previous optical failure. That was when Luxon was tangled up in an entirely foreseeable story about claiming a $52,000 accommodation allowance rather than staying in Premier House, in order to live instead in his own mortgage-free Wellington apartment.

    Luxon kept repeating that he was “entitled” to the allowance until he saw the light. “Entitled” proved to be an unfortunate choice of word.

    • Drowsy M. Kram 2.1

      I’ve never been a landlord. – Nicola Willis, 13 May 2022

      Apologies – I assumed Willis was a landlord, but she's only a discretionary beneficiary of Appledore Trust, which owns houses in Kelburn, Riversdale and Wānaka.

      • lprent 2.1.1

        Oh, you mean that she only benefits from profits if some conditions are met. Like she turns 21 or the trust makes too much profit? After all it tends to be pretty wide open depending on the trust document

        In a discretionary trust, an individual may be named as a beneficiary or come within a class of beneficiaries, but unless the trustee(s) exercise their discretion in favour of that beneficiary, the individual will not have any right or claim to any of the Trust assets.

        That really leaves begs the question about who are the trustee(s). Her parents, spouse. lawyer,…

      • James Simpson 2.1.2

        Most likely the properties are "owned" by her parents in a Family Trust.

        A Family Trust generally has the Settlors/Trustees children, and even grandchildren named as discretionary beneficiaries. A very common form of property ownership in New Zealand.

        When the oldies dies, the assets will be distributed to those beneficiaries.

  3. adam 3

    How many bloody useless ministers can one government produce in just under 200 days.

    Quite a few it seems.

    Have we ever had a government with level of incompetence, so early?

    Have we ever had a government so quick to pass the buck?

    Have we ever had a government who have even stopped paying lip service towards fighting poverty?

    Mind you what do you expect with a PM who holds questionable theological beliefs, and a sense of entitlement which is, quite frankly – vulgar.

  4. Michael P 4

    I'm happy to be proven wrong but I feel this article is misleading at best if not inaccurate?

    The article claims funding is being cut and in the article the Labor spokesperson says in a statement that:

    "….. funding is effectively being cut…"

    I hate weasel words like that.

    From what I can gather there aren't any "cuts" to the funding at all.

    The government press release states:

    “The Ministry is restoring some but not all restrictions on what this funding can be spent on – for example equipment or services for disabled people rather than overseas travel or haircuts for their carers …"

    and

    "To be clear, this is not a reduction in funding…"

    Sounds to me the goal is to make sure the funding is being spent on the disabled person and their needs rather than the carer's personal stuff??

    Like I say, am happy to be proven wrong but in my opinion people (voters) are a lot smarter than politicians (and the media) think they are.

    If criticizing government policies, accuracy is absolutely essential in my opinion to build and maintain credibility and trust. Also I think yes rip government policy to bits where it deserves it and where it is policy or legislation that voters are interested in, but if possible do it with a kind of sense of neutrality (if that makes any sense is hard to explain). Voters respond far better to a delivery of facts without any 'look at those evil, spiteful morons…' type of stuff.

    Advice to Labor. FFS I know you're in opposition but can you not even slightly understand that the comments made by Hipkins and Radhakrishnan come across to people (those whose vote is not ideologically immovable) as a bit petty and 'snidey' (not a word..I know) almost like the same sort of structure you get when a child is 'telling on someone…'

    People don't expect you to automatically reply to every government announcement that it's undemocratic or fiscally incompetent, etc,etc. Sometimes it's better to be more subtle (manipulative) or just less 'we know best…' or if you can see that there is obviously a balls up on the horizon then have a think as to whether or not it might be better to just not even mention it and let the balls up occur so they can shoot themselves in the foot.

    They seem to be still trying to change or worry about people's perceptions rather than aiming to alter their perspective.

    This all probably only makes sense to me but one things for sure they can't do much worse than the last election.

    Am I the only one who thinks the Labor party has a really scary lack of good, tough, political politicians? Maybe it's because there are too many university graduates? What I mean by that is that 25% of the NZ working population have university degrees whereas 90% of MP's have degrees. Does this matter? Is it indicative of a lack of actual representation of the population in parliament which leads to that good old 'out of touch' feeling?

    ps – I know we just had an election but Labor needs to get into the mindset of campaigning starts now.. in the sense that if you can, then get out and talk to the people about their perspectives rather than waste time trying to pick little 'winny' bits out of every government policy. The people that count will forget those 'winny' things by tomorrow anyway. And be accurate and don't use weasel words and and and…. (sigh)

    pss – I know I used a lot of non-words in this post…..

    • Rose 4.1

      No, you are not the only one.

      Those who have listened to question time over the past few days will have had a couple of things confirmed;

      (1) The Labour MPs tasked with asking questions are indeed very fast … so fast that intelligence isn’t able to catch them

      (2) The Oped is factually inaccurate. There are no funding cuts as stated.

      The opposition and some on this site will have to up there game if we are to have serious debate rather than a bark at every passing press release.

      • weka 4.1.1

        what do you mean by 'funding cut'? Be specific. Because it's obvious that disabled people were left without services, if that wasn't because of funding issues, why was it done?

        It wasn't a press release. It was a set of updated guidelines from Whaikaha to disability organisations and their clients telling them that starting that day funding was no longer to be used for certain kinds of disability supports (but poorly defined).

      • newsense 4.1.2

        Shall we play this silly little game with taxes?

        When is a new tax not a tax? Why when it is a levy, a user charge, a fee, or some other type of weasel words. Watch for these sprouting like mushrooms. It’s already begun in transport. Seems likely the police will be back working that speed camera and civil forfeiture. It’s all pretty legal.

        The public can see that 6% is being ordered cut from departments across the board. They’ve seen the priorities of the new government. 2.9 Billion, $800 million extra found for landlords.

        They have got a fairly good idea of who is entitled to what and what is snide.

        Chris Bishop has twice told porky pies about consulting sector groups on environmental impacts and no cause evictions. The Prime Minister has spent time telling us about how up is down when it comes to the housing market and rational self interest. ACT danced about gleefully at the news journos would lose their jobs.

        On top of this they’ve told us the opposite groups like Standards and Poorz about how terrible the economy is and TINA. Total garbage. The economy and public debt is fairly robust, but infrastructure is creaking and dealing with issues that require an urgent community response and an increasingly expensive one, are now being ignored. In part for ideological culture war reasons.

        Not Tory cuts. An unrenewed funding package to remove unnecessary discretion. It’s beginning to sound as if just putting all beneficiaries and disabled people in a big camp where all the food was distributed by points on a card would be preferred by this government. Liberty, freedom and dignity of you’re rich, preferably property owning.

    • weka 4.2
      1. if it's not a funding cut, why is it tied to the disability budget blow out? Are they running out of money or not? Do they need to save money or not? If not, what was the point?

      2. 'it's not a funding cut' are the weasel words. Think about the family that cannot provide certain kinds of care for their disabled child from this week. So yeah, technically it's not a funding cut because from the government side they're already over budget. But it is most definitely a cut to essential goods and services via funding. That sounds like a funding cut.

      3. there is zero evidence from National that family member have been using this disabled person's funding for random personal spending. What we do have is a very large number of disabled people and their families pointing out that things like a personal holiday by a parent is respite care. That was within the existing rules.

      4. If National want to change the rules, this is not the way to do it. People and agencies were blindsided, when it was entirely possible to have been working through a process over the past months. Of course they couldn't really do that because that would mean signalling a funding cut, oops, I mean cut to essential goods and services for disabled people.

      5. Penny Simmonds has made some glaring mistakes. She repeatedly said that IF and/or its flexibility didn't predate the pandemic. She is flat out wrong on that (it's been around for more than a decade). Which speaks to her competency given she was trying to use this as a rationale.

      6. In the absence of any evidence, I wouldn't be assuming those new guidelines mean anything about how funding was spent. My guess is that someone who didn't understand IF grabbed some data and random stories in a rush to cut costs and put together something that didn't make much sense. Reading the guidelines yesterday and listening to disabled people and their carers on twitter, it was clear what had been done was both a sudden cut and didn't make sense.

      • Rose 4.2.1

        A funding cut (as MS asserts) and blowing your budget (the one Labour set last May) are two quite seperate issues. Conflating them and then trying to double down on inaccuracy is rather unhelpful to a genuine debate.

        As was pointed out in question time today, we are going through another budget round now. IMO we are likely to see a funding increase.

        • weka 4.2.1.1

          that's a rather silly semantic argument. The funding was running out. Instead of allocating more funding, National decided to cut access to certain essential goods and services.

          As was pointed out in question time today, we are going through another budget round now. IMO we are likely to see a funding increase.

          I'm sure all the disabled people without adequate care in the meantime will be appropriately grateful.

    • weka 4.3

      Advice to Labor. FFS I know you're in opposition but can you not even slightly understand that the comments made by Hipkins and Radhakrishnan come across to people (those whose vote is not ideologically immovable) as a bit petty and 'snidey' (not a word..I know) almost like the same sort of structure you get when a child is 'telling on someone…'

      which comments?

      People don't expect you to automatically reply to every government announcement that it's undemocratic or fiscally incompetent, etc,etc. Sometimes it's better to be more subtle (manipulative) or just less 'we know best…' or if you can see that there is obviously a balls up on the horizon then have a think as to whether or not it might be better to just not even mention it and let the balls up occur so they can shoot themselves in the foot.

      jfc. Maybe listen to disabled people on this who are directly affected and are experts in the area. Within two days the Minister has had to start reversing parts of the policy. I'd call that a bloody good win, and as a disabled person I would absolutely expect all left of centre parties to have spoken up strongly on this.

    • Hanswurst 4.4

      If there is a change to policy that means that, instead of the government being obliged to allocate further funding to keep up with entitlements, beneficiaries have to pay for services that would previously been funded, then that is a funding cut. Whether that's justified (I don't think it is) is a separate question. The weasel words are all at your end.

    • Ad 4.5

      It's all in what is considered discretionary.

      Start there and make an actual point.

      Also before you go off about policy clarity, this change was put out without informing the Disability Commissuoner at all. Or indeed anyone. They read it first on Facebook like everyone. There's zero clarity all day

      Willis has now pulled the Minister in for a chat.

  5. Michael P 5

    Sorry for the book…. yikes!

  6. Ad 6

    The unnamed woman with disabled daughter interviewed on RNZ said "The Minister has set my house on fire." Buying a discretionary audiobook is the 30 minutes the mother gets to have a shower or eat dinner,

    My brother has 2 substantially disabled under-5s and this discretionary funding shift will just make them miserable.

  7. SPC 7

    The government cannot afford

    food in schools

    respite services

    to invest in scientific research (thus lower future productivity – do the IMF and credit agencies know yet?)

    The science community is in shock after a proposal to restructure the Crown agency, Callaghan Innovation, which employs more than 300 staff.

    In a consultation document sent to employees last week, the institution said it was suffering from "significant financial pressures" and could no longer operate within its "current financial envelope".

    It also highlighted the need to become more commercial, highlighting a possible move towards more revenue-generating and in-demand capabilities for businesses.

    The Public Service Association said there was a risk Callaghan could be turned into a commercial-led organisation, which would limit scientists' research abilities.

    Cook Strait rail ferries

    Bus lanes in Auckland

    https://www.1news.co.nz/2024/03/20/growing-concerns-at-under-investment-in-science-sector/

    The worst government in our history.

    There is pure research
    There is industry research
    There is investment in PHD students at university (local and foreign) to serve both and to provide the future workforce.
    There are R and D tax credits and or subsidised loan finance (development finance) to commercial operators in industry sectors.
    There is incentive to share issue capital formulation and insurance schemes to lower the risk of business finance to banks (so growth can occur beyond the limit to house mortgages)

    Stock standard for first world nations. We have stuff all and this lot is making it worse. And prioritising speculation on existing residential property and land banking.

  8. newsense 8

    Rather like these guys:

    https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/political/511812/government-rejects-westport-s-plea-for-flood-protection-funding

    Pick and mix approach to climate change preparation. We’re not in this together. We’ll give you a whole lot of new mines on conservation land and the mining company will chip in a third, whaddya reckon? No extra money for their roads or clean up though.

    Part one of the price the electorate is paying to pretend Maori don’t exist. Don’t worry the mining companies Shane Jones chooses will be much better friends for sure. Better start choosing what you want to sell to ‘keep control.’

    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/politics/police-association-warns-a-hiring-freeze-of-backroom-staff-will-pull-cops-off-the-street/DGCLWMMF7BGCBFVDP4UZDH4HGY/

    Or this.

    Even regular muppets who watch TV can figure back room staff are maybe the IT guys for 111. Or the guys who keep evidence secure and properly organised. Or who help prepare for court dates. Or the people who co-ordinate and dispatch officers. Or the people who check maintenance on police cars or other essential police equipment. Or the people who clean the buildings. Or the people there to help officers when they see something traumatic or attend a traumatic situation. Or the people who ensure everyone gets paid correctly, including their correct allowances and overtime. Or the people involved in leadership training and future pathways to help retain staff. These are all ESSENTIAL staff. You can’t just say cut 6% from the back office and expect things to keep working. Let alone give more duties, expect to recruit more officers and pay them poorly. And like the defense force they don’t have normal negotiating tactics available to them.

  9. newsense 9

    Aahhh! Again back to the 90s when the government were not a charity, but businesses were. They were supposed to give up their time to guide universities on what they should teach etc etc. Not sure what’s been done to the apprenticeship plans that were incoming, but I guess we’ll see.

    https://sideswipedthesequel.substack.com/p/sideswiped-populust-peters-throws?utm_medium=email

    More imaginative work on how a carer works:
    Liam is very keen on engines and in particular tractor engines. Lily has contacted a local farmer who has agreed to spend a day teaching Liam all about engines. Lily is going to use her Carer Support to contribute to the mileage costs for the farmer. While Liam is with the farmer, Lily spends time reading, turns her phone off and enjoys the break.”

    She turns off her phone because Liam won’t have anxiety attacks, or wet himself or get frustrated and want to quit or be scared of the dogs. Remember it’s easy to care for disabled people so the farmer won’t have any trouble. And quad bikes are super stable. You never speed to show off to 15 year olds.

    It’s good news that the rural economy is going gang busters so we have an army of idle farmers able to give up a full day every..? Just once? And just one farmer for just one boy? Oliver Twist be praised!

  10. Gosman 10

    The real issue is the last Government did not define the eligibility criteria clearly enough and did not fund it to the extent they should have. The current Government is merely having to deal with the consequences of this.

    • Drowsy M. Kram 10.1

      The current Government is merely having to deal with the consequences of this.

      The real issue is our current self-serving coalition govt is choosing not to support disabled Kiwis to the extent that our last govt did, because their priorities lie elsewhere, i.e. bolstering passive income streams ("Ooh, you're lovely, make a lot of lovely money for me, make a fortune!"), and putting those awful "bottom feeders" in their place. Consequences smonsequences.

      Shadow cast over disability [21 March 2024]
      Joanna Scott is the community service coordinator for the Masterton-based Wairarapa branch of national organisation CCS Disability Action [CCS].

      The organisation supports more than 100 disabled people across the region, not all of whom are expected to be affected by the funding change. Their range of disabilities includes autism, intellectual disability, physical disability, and impaired vision and hearing.

      An upset Scott described to the Times-Age how she felt when she first came to learn about the funding change on Facebook.

      It was complete disbelief,” she said.

      It was a real shock. I don’t think any of us saw it coming. There had been no indication that there would be a complete reversal of the flexibility that had been given for utilising funds.

      Our progressive politicians have failed to confront politics of austerity
      [21 March 2024]
      We have been told since the Rogernomics era that there is no alternative to austerity, but this couldn’t be further from the truth.

      Austerity not only causes irreparable social damage, but it also stymies opportunities for economic growth and long-term investment.

      The only way to create a political environment that is conducive to dealing with long-term crises such as housing, poverty and climate change, is to convince the public of the necessity of state investment in infrastructure and public services.

      • Traveller 10.1.1

        The real issue is that the previous government loosened the eligility criteria without providing enough funding. Whaikaka are forecasting that between $50m and $65m is going to be spent in the current year alone that was not funded. It's one thing to provide hope to a vulnerable sector, another thing entirely to provide funding to match the promises.
        https://newsroom.co.nz/2024/03/19/disability-ministry-days-away-from-spending-all-its-money/

        • weka 10.1.1.1

          The real issue is that the previous government loosened the eligility criteria without providing enough funding

          I'd like to see some evidence for this. As opposed to, the number of disabled people and the costs of things have increased.

          Because people with disabilities don't get to go back to the MoH every week and ask for more money. They get needs assessed by an independent agency and given a set amount for the coming 12 months.

          It might be that people are asking the needs assessors for more funding, but that's not the argument you are making. Nor is it what Simmonds was trying to fix. She was simply telling disabled people how to use the money they had already been allocated. Maybe this was so Whaikaha can better afford things next financial year. but she didn't say that.

          • Traveller 10.1.1.1.1

            I'd like to see some evidence for this. As opposed to, the number of disabled people and the costs of things have increased.

            Along with the issues you rightly highlight, the Ministry noted that the flexible funding model increased demand:

            "With the increasing demand for and cost of providing disability support services, including flexible funding, there has been increasing pressure on the disability budget each year. It is important that flexibility, choice and control are balanced against the need to ensure we remain within our budget."

            Minister takes aim at 'pedicures' for carers in disability funds row (1news.co.nz)

            Because people with disabilities don't get to go back to the MoH every week and ask for more money. They get needs assessed by an independent agency and given a set amount for the coming 12 months.

            I'm trying to manage through this with a close friend (and remotely at the moment as I'm out of NZ). The amount of funding to each person hasn't changed (AFAIA), but what the money can be spent on has.

            "Changes to the Purchasing Rules does not reduce the amount of funding that is allocated to disabled people (or carers), however they make clear what can be purchased, with the aim that every dollar spent generates the maximum possible value for disabled people. "

            Whaikaha – Purchasing Rules and Equipment and Modification Services (EMS) Update | Whaikaha – Ministry of Disabled People

            The comms on this have been appalling and have caused considerable distress. But some of the posturing by Labour over this is sickening. Or maybe just politics.

            • weka 10.1.1.1.1.1

              The amount of funding to each person hasn't changed (AFAIA), but what the money can be spent on has.

              right. So how is it true to say "The real issue is that the previous government loosened the eligibility criteria without providing enough funding"?

              I haven't seen any loosening of eligibility criteria (which would be affecting the needs assessment process). What they've done is changed how people can spend the money they've already been allocated.

              Labour might not have budgeted well enough, but that's nothing to do with the flexibility on how to spend allocations. Unless the idea is that restricting what $ can be spent on will mean less spending per person and that money will then be given back to the MoH. But that doesn't make any sense either because every person's allocation date will be at a different time of year.

              None of it makes sense. Except ideologically, and setting up the sector for cuts to allocations. Also possible is that Simmonds and senior Whaikaha management just fucked up.

    • Descendant Of Smith 10.2

      The real issue is the last Government did not define the eligibility criteria clearly enough

      Nonsense. The criteria was loose deliberately and put in the hands of those who benefit from the funding. Having a bureaucratic list designed by some official helps no-one in the end.

      They are now saying increasing demand has resulted in the change.

      • Traveller 10.2.1

        The criteria was loose deliberately…

        I agree.

        Having a bureaucratic list designed by some official helps no-one in the end.

        I share the sentiment about bureaucrats, but it seems clear that the flexible funding model led to greater demand. I'm sure there were some criteria/guidelines, but the scheme is currently running at as much as $65m over budget.

        • weka 10.2.1.1

          but it seems clear that the flexible funding model led to greater demand

          How so? The demand for disability comes from the increasing number of disabled people and their needs as assessed and the increases in costs of meeting those needs. I can't see how it comes from the IF side. Or if it does, I'd like to see an actual explanation of how.

          • Traveller 10.2.1.1.1

            I've not personally experienced it, but the explanation I've been given (from a NAS worker) is that the demand comes from having more things to spend the money on (AKA 'greater flexibility'). In the NAS model, people (often with the help of their carers) have the ability to apply for more funding to cover more services.

            • weka 10.2.1.1.1.1

              if that's true, then the issue is with the needs assessment criteria not the IF flexibility. But I'd still like to see some evidence that it is true, because needs assessors used to have budget and criteria that they had to work within.

              Needs assessments were always capped, they didn't give the disabled person enough money to cover their all their needs.

              • Traveller

                "if that's true, then the issue is with the needs assessment criteria not the IF flexibility. "

                I don't think that's correct. The NAS (in conjunction with other care (professionals) is the contact point for the application of the FF model.

                • weka

                  people get assessed based on need by the NASC. If the person is eligible for IF, the NASC allocates a certain amount of funding to each person for a year. The NASC can't just allocate whatever they like, there are rules around needs assessments.

                  Once the allocation is granted, the disabled person then goes to another agency for the managing of that money. The NASC and the Host agency are separate from each other. This stems from the funder/provider split introduced in the 90s, so that the org with the budget constraints is separate from the org providing care, and there is no conflict of interest.

                  The changes in flexibility are managed through the Host. If there have been changes to the criteria that NASCs used (there may have been) I'd like to see the evidence for this.

                  In other words, NASCs don't manage or determine the flexibility of the funding once it's been allocated. The flexibility is determined by the MoH/Whaikaha and through the Host agencies. If the MoH and the NASCs have change the assessment criteria, I'd like to see how.

                  • Traveller

                    That's not the way I've seen it working, Weka. I readily admit my experience is limited (to helping others navigate the system), but I have seen NA's actively involved in advocating for their clients with Whaikaha around FF. I had assumed that was normal, but from what you're saying it isn't.

                    • weka

                      fair enough. I think we're talking generalities and the truth will be in the detail which isn't appropriate here. MSM should have covered this, explaining how the system works in the past and now.

        • Descendant Of Smith 10.2.1.2

          The difficult is in this scenario is understanding demand in the first place.

          There are five sorts of demand in play at least:
          1. Increased demand for different things by people who were already getting assistance
          2. Increased demand due to population growth (overall or the disability population)
          3. Increased demand to increased home schooling etc due to needing to mitigate COVID-19 risk for vulnerable children
          4. Increased demand due to previously unmet demand (people who had not sought assistance before but now were because previously too difficult, or insufficient awareness of assistance available)

          The assumption that the cost blowout was due to people getting pedicures, overseas trips etc lacks evidence. Any of the demands above would increase cost.

          Would be much better if some decent information was provided eg were more people accessing assistance? What was driving this? It is somewhat ironic that a specialist Ministry set up to improve things can be so terrible at providing any decent analysis.

          Something like more women having babies later in life could be an influence for instance particularly with Down's syndrome. Increased poverty post COVID-19 19 could be another reason.

          • Traveller 10.2.1.2.1

            "It is somewhat ironic that a specialist Ministry set up to improve things can be so terrible at providing any decent analysis."

            Agreed, and so much of this is informed opinion, into which space ride politicians and fellow travellers.

          • Descendant Of Smith 10.2.1.2.2

            I also meant to put:

            Increased demand due to inflationary price increases.

            • weka 10.2.1.2.2.1

              and increase in rates of disability per capita. Don't know if that is happening but it wouldn't surprise me.

          • Traveller 10.2.1.2.3

            DoS – I've just watched QT from today, and the Minister (Parliament TV On Demand – Parliament On Demand) stated that (from 2:50) since 2018, "the number of people accessing disability supports has increased by around 50%, compared to population growth of 8.5% over that same period".

            Thats seems like a serious anomaly to me, but someone with more experience of the front line will be better placed to comment.

            • Descendant Of Smith 10.2.1.2.3.1

              Why would it be an anomaly.?

              Look at housing or hospital waiting lists. Under National governments people get kicked off waiting lists. Under Labour people go back on.

              It doesn't change the demand it just hides it.

              Public services are always harder to access under National governments than they are under Labour. This has been a cycle for some time.

              More liberal approaches, more staff to administer and promote in the community, more publicity about what you can get. Numbers oft go up under Labour governments.

              Explain to me why numbers going up is not seen by you as a positive thing. Something where you say that the government did a really good job at providing support to all those people who were previously not getting it. That in doing so there was good local economic benefit by ensuring that money flowed from central government into the local economies where it will get spent.

              Why the consistent framing that if expenditure goes up it is bad?

              We are shit in this country at evaluating unmet need and likely when departments do measure it it doesn't get published. Occasionally it does.

              On the other hand a perceived serious and possibly increasing level of unmet healthcare need in the same Canterbury region has seen the establishment of the Canterbury Charity Hospital. A recent three year (2010–2012) review of this places on record the services, mostly surgical, provided to patients unable to access treatment in the public system and who could not afford private care.7 This review noted that, beyond the hundreds of patients treated, many appointment requests to the Charity Hospital were rejected because volunteer services in some specialties were not available. The experience of the Charity Hospital led to the conclusion that there are “… substantial, undocumented unmet healthcare needs in the region.”

              https://charityhospital.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Importance-of-measuring.pdf

              • Traveller

                Thanks DoS.

                "Explain to me why numbers going up is not seen by you as a positive thing."

                The numbers themselves are neither positive or negative. It's about meeting need.

                "Why the consistent framing that if expenditure goes up it is bad?"

                I don't see it as bad. But there is a place for scrutiny of the spending of public money.

    • weka 10.3

      The real issue is the last Government did not define the eligibility criteria clearly enough…

      did you just make that up? Funding amounts are determined by a needs assessment, not by how the disable person uses those funds once allocated. If you have an argument that the assessment process is wrong, then please make it and provide evidence at the time you do to support your argument.

  11. Michael 11

    Many voters will applaud Simmonds. Laying into disabled people and the those who care for them plays well to the government's voter base.

    • Tony Veitch 11.1

      If that is indeed the case, and I suspect you are right – then we are a very sick society!

      • Descendant Of Smith 11.1.1

        Not as sick as the UK (yet).

        https://www.openaccessgovernment.org/uk-government-disabled-people-urged-to-work-from-home-or-face-benefit-cuts/170554/

        In a significant policy shift, the UK government, led by Chief Secretary to the Treasury Laura Trott, urges disabled people with mobility and mental health challenges to work from home or risk losing disability benefits, emphasising it as a citizen’s duty
        The controversial directive, set to be revealed in the autumn statement, aims to reshape the welfare system, addressing what PM Rishi Sunak deems “unsustainable.” Individuals facing mobility and mental health issues may see benefits slashed by £4,680 annually if they fail to find remote work.

  12. Georgecom 12

    If the fund was being depleted why did the minister not act earlier and signal to the sector a tightening of criteria was coming and give some advanced notice. If criteria was needing to be tightened why did the minister not announce a consultation or development process before new rules were instituted. She is saying the changes were not properly communicated, so what has she been doing for the past few weeks to get the problem properly communicated. Acting over night and arbitrarily as it very much looks like, what has the minister been doing for the past few weeks? I'd like to assume she is a well intentioned person, but is she another out of her depth minister like Melissa Lee?

    • Traveller 12.1

      "If the fund was being depleted why did the minister not act earlier and signal to the sector a tightening of criteria was coming and give some advanced notice."

      Based on Parliament TV On Demand – Parliament On Demand, she was told by the Ministry that they could manage the financial tensions. She also claims Labour were also told about the shortfall some months ago.

      "If criteria was needing to be tightened why did the minister not announce a consultation or development process before new rules were instituted."

      My view is she lost control of the decision-making process, if she ever had control. Certainly she lost control of the comms.

      "I'd like to assume she is a well intentioned person…"

      The Minister has a child with a disability, and I dare say fully understands the impact this has had on the community. It's hard to know whether this is a sign of her competence, only time will tell.

      • Descendant Of Smith 12.1.1

        The Minister has a child with a disability, and I dare say fully understands the impact this has had on the community. It's hard to know whether this is a sign of her competence, only time will tell.

        Not necessarily true if you are surrounded by family and wealth. We've already seen how out of touch Nicola Willis is with her tax cuts to take her family to the pictures and the PM's starting salary for police.

        Raising children with disabilities myself it makes a world of difference when you live 300 miles away from any family and have zero family support for day to day things. We would have loved some respite care. It was seven years before someone kindly looked after our children so we could have a night out together at a restaurant. Most people were scared to look after them in case something went wrong on top of the normal factors about the difficulty in getting baby sitters for three children. One or two was not too hard. Three was very difficult.

        I'm pleased others can now get support.

      • georgecom 12.1.2

        whatever the case, seems poorly managed by her. as the minister she is ultimately responsible

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  • Total Eclipse of the Mind.
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    7 days ago

  • Huge interest in Government’s infrastructure plans
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  • Roads of National Significance planning underway
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  • Navigating an unstable global environment
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  • NZ welcomes Australian Governor-General
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  • Pseudoephedrine back on shelves for Winter
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  • NZ and the US: an ever closer partnership
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  • Joint US and NZ declaration
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  • Government redress for Te Korowai o Wainuiārua
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  • Focus on outstanding minerals permit applications
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  • Applications open for NZ-Ireland Research Call
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  • Tenancy rules changes to improve rental market
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  • Boosting NZ’s trade and agricultural relationship with China
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  • Freshwater farm plan systems to be improved
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  • New Zealand Biosecurity Awards – Winners announced
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    5 days ago
  • Attendance action plan to lift student attendance rates
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  • Speech to United Nations General Assembly: 66th plenary meeting, 78th session
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    5 days ago
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  • Prime Minister launches Government Targets
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    ...
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    1 week ago
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  • Education should be prioritised ahead of protesting
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  • Peters to visit New York, Washington D.C.
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