Budget delivers largest funding cut since 2008 for Disability Support Services

CCS Disability Action believes disabled people’s wellbeing will suffer as a result of Budget 2019. The Government plans to reduce spending on the Ministry of Health’s Disability Support Services by $7 million dollars, the largest planned funding cut in over a decade.

This comes despite repeated appeals for additional funding to address the $150 million deficit in sector funding and a last-minute save to service cuts due to Ministry of Health over-spending in 2018.

In the previous financial year, the Government estimates that it spent just under $1,352 million on Disability Support Services. In the coming financial year, they plan to spend just under $1,345 million. This is $7 million less, despite the current underfunding of Disability Support Services.

David Matthews, Chief Executive of CCS Disability Action, is dismayed that the needs of disabled New Zealanders and those that support them have not been addressed.

“The sector is underfunded as it is and there is a proven growing demand for Disability Support Services. It is likely to reduce the wellbeing of disabled people and their whānau. We cannot go on with the Government thinking it can keep a lid on demand for disability support services when the pot is already boiling over,” he says.

The reduced funding is at odds with current rhetoric on the transformation of the disability support system.

“The Government is trying to transform and improve the disability support sector and has been fueling people’s expectations for years now with Enabling Good Lives and the System Transformation, but it is not willing to invest to deliver. This gap between expectations and reality is only likely to increase,” says Mr Matthews.


Additional information:

For the Government acknowledgement of the cut see the top of page 83 of the Vote Health - Health Sector - Estimates 2019/2020 which states: “This appropriation (National Disability Support Services (M36)) decreases by $7.061 million to $1,344.646 million…”

Table 1 Planned increases for each financial year, based on the estimated actual spending from the previous financial year

Financial year

Size of the increase



$5 million


$38 million


$54 million


$25 million


$67 million


$29 million


$49 million


-$1 million (decrease)


$25 million


$31 million


-$7 million (decrease)

Figure 1 Planned and estimated actual spending for the Ministry of Health’s Disability Support Services by financial year in millions


For media enquiries, contact CCS Disability Action's media team.

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