Release: Penny Simmonds should be sacked over disability funding debacle

The Prime Minister has taken all decisions around disability funding out of Penny Simmonds hands, and yet she’s still a Minister.

“It’s time Christopher Luxon took his own advice from Opposition and showed some leadership,” Labour leader Chris Hipkins said.

“Christopher Luxon doesn’t have faith in his Minister’s decision making, so he can’t have faith in her continuing to hold the portfolio or continue as a Minister.

“It is an extraordinary step and a massive vote of no confidence for Cabinet to intervene because a Minister is failing to make decisions in her own portfolio.

“Christopher Luxon should remove her as a Minister altogether,” Chris Hipkins said.

“This has been an absolute debacle from the day we found out that some funding options for carers of people with disabilities were being cut and implemented on the same day, without consultation,” Labour disabilities spokesperson Priyanca Radhakrishnan said.

“Penny Simmons was warned as far back as December that there were issues, did nothing, then signed off on changes that would hurt the disability community anyway.

“She has failed to stand up for communities that needed her. She has blamed everyone but herself: Whaikaha – the Ministry of Disabled People, the previous Government and even the very carers who were losing the funding.

“I think that is disgraceful. The Government should act immediately to fix Penny Simmond’s mess and reinstate funding flexibility for carers and the disabled community,” Priyanca Radhakrishnan said.