9 November 2016 MEDIA STATEMENT
The Ministry of Social Development has made a mistake in axing funding for the Wairoa Budget Advisory Service (WBAS) which has offered a vital service to Wairoa for 28 years, says Ikaroa-Rāwhiti MP Meka Whaitiri.
“WBAS have been a high-performing provider for 28 years and consistently exceed their contracted client numbers.
“The loss of this funding is a cost-cutting exercise, plain and simple. Communities like Wairoa simply cannot afford to have services like this hollowed out.
“Many of the clients in Wairoa have a lot of complex debt and that takes a skilled advisor.
“It’s bizarre the Ministry has concluded that Wairoa no longer needs this volume of service when a glance at WBAS reports proves there is demand out there in the community.
“In the last six months they were contracted to serve 113 clients, and actually served 186 with total debt of over $132,000, resolving nearly half of that debt.
“It speaks to the integrity of WBAS that they have committed to continuing to provide a free confidential service for those in need.
“With the loss of this funding, there will be increased pressure placed on them and it will take the whole community rallying around WBAS now to ensure they can keep providing this vital service,” says Meka Whaitiri.