Thursday, April 28, 2011

National cuts women's refuges

Last week, National announced it was blowing $36 million on a foreign yacht race for rich people. Meanwhile, its cutting funding to women's refuges by as much as 50%:

Women's refuges say some women fleeing from violence may no longer be able to get a safe bed after a surprise Government policy change chopped $700,000 off their funding.

The 45 refuges have lost $382,200 from their national contract and just over $300,000 in contracts held by some refuges for family violence co-ordinator and child advocate jobs, which have been scrapped.


"We currently get paid $520 per client for just over 3000 [short-stay] clients, spread amongst the 45 refuges. Take $382,200 out and that reduces to $251," she said.

"We have to make a decision as to whether we can actually provide that service any more."

Women's refuges do a vital job. They may no longer be able to do that job thanks to these cuts. And when they're facing increased demand due to National's recession, that looks more than merely short-sighted - it looks actively evil.

Meanwhile, the government seems to be actively lying about the cuts, saying that the organisation can apply to another fund. In fact, there is less money available, applications have to be lodged by tomorrow (very short notice when we're talking about paperwork for hundreds of thousands of dollars), and they're ineligible in any case. But if the government admitted that, they'd have to carry the can for their decision. By pretending that money is available, they can them blame organisations for failing to apply for it - a conscious strategy of blaming the victim.

This is what National does: cut vital social services while funnelling money to the rich. If you want to end it, then you know what to do in November.