Budget 2016: Value public services, value New Zealanders

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The Public Service Association is calling on Finance Minister Bill English to deliver a Budget which will properly fund public services - and properly value the people that deliver them.

Mr English will deliver his eighth Budget tomorrow, and PSA National Secretary Erin Polaczuk wants to see an end to the "do more with less" culture National’s imposed on the public sector.

"The public service is the safety net that catches Kiwis when we fall - and the ties that bind us together as a country.

"All public servants deserve good news in this budget, but we especially want the government to honour its existing commitment to the community public sector.

"In this Budget, the government needs to recognise the crucial job that community care and support workers do, and stop the low funding, low wages and poor conditions in the sector.

"We also want to see funding allocated to equal pay for these workers, who look after vulnerable people and seldom get more than the minimum wage."

Ms Polaczuk says health also needs a massive funding injection, after a Council of Trade Unions analysis found $691 million will be needed just to keep up existing services.

"The lack of government funding is biting hard across every part of the health sector.

"Our members have racked up massive leave allowances because they can’t take holidays; patients face delays of more than a year for physio services in Southland due to staff shortages; and spending on locums at Wellington Hospital has topped $5 million because they can’t recruit enough staff.

"In mental health, the funding cuts have had tragic consequences - with a coroner’s investigation into four deaths in the Wellington region and a damning report into services at Waikato DHB.

"Health minister Jonathan Coleman owes it to all the grieving families to restore the ring-fence and fund mental health properly."