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Luxury rest home rooms for whose mates?
May 2013
Kris Faafoi MP for Mana and Labour's Aged Care spokesperson

A proposal that could see the government subsidising luxury retirement homes is just another example of National looking after its mates, Labour's Aged Care spokesperson Kris Faafoi says.

"Associate Health Minister Jo Goodhew is trying to sell the idea of premium-only aged care facilities as something that gives the elderly 'choice'.

"The only choice most will have will be to see their superannuation taxes going towards topping up private providers' profits.

"The fact that one of the very few announcements the Government has made to address the growing elderly population is focussed on the top end of town shows it has its head in the sand over the wide number of challenges that our aging population poses to New Zealand.

"The Government's plan to subsidise high-end retirement homes encourages a 'them and us' mentality, where poorer clients will be forced to wait for rooms if they can't afford to pay extra.

"Ryman, our largest private rest home operator, made an $84.1 million profit last year, courtesy of some of our most vulnerable elderly - our mums and dads, our grandparents.

"We know there is a crisis in the residential aged care sector. There have been numerous reviews and reports that have highlighted serious shortcomings in staff training, staffing levels and bed numbers.

"But rather than washing its hands of any long-term responsibility the Government needs to step in and lead the charge.

"That means ensuring we have a well-trained, well-paid workforce, enough beds for those on low or fixed incomes and a better level of support for those who want to stay in their own homes and receive care in their own homes.

"To achieve this requires leadership, which has been lacking from this government on most issues around aged care," Kris Faafoi said.

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