The failure of the Government to adequately fund Autism New Zealand nationally will hurt those with autism and their families, Green Party disability spokesperson Catherine Delahunty said today. Lack of regional funding for Autism New Zealand’s Waikato branch has led to six paid staff losing their jobs and left hundreds of families without support. "Autism New Zealand is a frontline provider of a vital service," said Ms Delahunty.
"The Government needs to step in and fund regional services and better support the national work of Autism New Zealand. "Without urgent assistance more regional support services of those with autism will be forced to close." Ms Delahunty pointed out that Autism New Zealand was the expert support group and advocate for many children, young people and older citizens whose experience is poorly understood and whose rights need protection.
"Cuts to this service will mean more stress for families, particularly those on middle to lower incomes already feeling the pinch from Government cutbacks," said Ms Delahunty. "People with autism can be very positive contributors to our social and economic life with the right support. "This Government should be upholding the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and providing those in need with this support."