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Govt could means test old folks: King

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 7/06/2016

The government isn't ruling out means testing old people who need home care, Labour says.

At present it's paid for by district health boards.

If the government is considering looking at the financial circumstances of those who need home care, it could mean it's thinking about making them pay for it themselves, or for part of it.

In parliament on Tuesday Labour's Annette King questioned Associate Health Minister Sam Lotu-Iiga about the cost of home-based care for the elderly.

"What work is currently under way in his portfolio to look at means testing as well as asset testing of older New Zealanders needing home and community support services, which is something that does not happen currently?" Ms King asked.

Mr Lotu-Iiga replied: "There is work being done on the Health and Older People Strategy that does involve looking at the increasing flexibility and responsiveness of funding streams."

Ms King later said in a statement the home care sector was in financial strife and couldn't cope with the ageing population.

"The associate minister today refused to rule out that the government was working on asset testing older New Zealanders receiving home care," she said.

Ms King says it costs about $4000 a year to look after elderly people at home compared with more than $36,000 if they're in an aged care facility.

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