Underfunding leaves refugees without support

Underfunding of health and social services affecting New Zealanders is now preventing us from giving Syrian refugees the care they may need, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says.

“It is appalling that a lack of funding has forced the Hutt Valley’s biggest GP service to turn away 30 Syrians arriving in the area today.

“Hutt Union Health has described their unprecedented decision as ‘heartbreaking’ but says taking on the Syrians without the necessary resources to care for them properly is unsafe.

“This follows the Government cutting $1.7 billion of funding to the health sector.

“National is already doing the bare minimum for Syrian refugees. The Government only begrudgingly agreed to an extra intake of refugees from the war-torn nation because of intense public pressure to do so.

“New Zealanders are warm-hearted and generous people who want these refugees, who have escaped difficult times, to feel welcome and supported.

“The Government must immediately reassess funding for all health and social services needed by the new Syrian communities before any more providers withdraw their services,” Andrew Little says.