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Hundreds of local support workers in Kapiti and Horowhenua will be better off because of the Government’s $2 billion pay equity settlement announced in April.

The wage boost follows the TerraNova pay equity claim on behalf of care worker Kristine Bartlett.

The aged care and disability sector is a very important local industry in Kapiti and Horowhenua because we have one of the highest numbers of senior citizens in the country.

Judging by the really positive response I received from caregivers at Horowhenua’s Masonic Village, this announcement has been given the big thumbs up.

Looking after people in need is very hard work so this is great news for them, their families and patients. It is much deserved and will make a real difference to their lives.

Earlier this year I took Prime Minister Bill English to visit the Sevenoaks-Midlands Retirement Village in Paraparaumu, we saw first-hand what a great job support staff do.

When the Kimberley Centre closed many individuals chose to stay living in Levin because it already had a good network of care and support workers. I think this is a good indication of the quality care our workers provide locally and how much a pay increase is deserved. 

The package will deliver wage increases between $19 to $27 an hour over 5 years to 55,000 workers in aged and disability residential care, and home and community support services.

It will help to ensure we have a higher paid and more skilled workforce caring for around 110,000 of New Zealand’s most vulnerable people.

Around 20,000 of this predominately female workforce are currently on the minimum wage of $15.75 an hour. The settlement means that on July 1 they will move to at least $19 an hour, for a full time worker they will be taking home around an extra $100 a week, which is over $5,000 a year.

Our care and support workers do a great job and I’m pleased this is being recognised with a pay increase.  

Picture: (From left) Delia Leather, Sandra Fryer, Nathan Guy, Jan Singer and Gina Peters at Horowhenua Masonic Village.

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