Two health camps in New Zealand may be closed down due to a lack of funding. One of these is in Otaki, the other in Central Otago. In order for the camps to continue their services, they would likely need a $3 million per year increase in funding. There has not been an increase in Government funding since 2009. Tracey Martin, Minister for Children, has said that an increase in funding cannot be made.
There are seven child health camps across the country. These particular camps have been selected for shut down because the facilities have not yet seen an upgrade.
The intention of these health camps is to help children with potential risk to their well-being due to trauma or other events. These programs are provided by Stand’s Children’s Services. According to Stand, the effect of shutting down both camps will mean that hundreds of children will miss out on treatment every year.
A property bought by the camp last year in Milne Drive, Paraparaumu, was a potential place to operate the camp. However this was ruled out in court.
The Otaki camp was established in 1932.
380 primary school aged children, treated annually for health and behaviour issues will suffer due to this, according to Fiona Inkpen, chief executive at Stand’s Children’s Services. As well as this, 63 workers across both camps will lose their jobs.
Kapiti Mayor K Gurunathan has commented on the matter, “a shocker for a Government said to be committed to children’s welfare”.
The final decision to close the camps will be made next month.