A tale of three Ministers - an application for targeted funding
AECTP has been working hard to obtain targeted funding for the first aid sector. Below is a brief outline of progress to date. In the December Newsletter, we asked members to write to the Minister. If a member has sent any correspondence, we would be grateful if you could please provide an outline of the details and any responses received, and we will add it to the timeline.
October 29, 2021
On October 29, 2021, AECTP sent a letter to Minister Robertson and Minister Hipkins outlining concerns that the industry had about the future for the sector and providers, particularly those operating in Auckland.
November 9, 2021
Minister Robertson responded to the letter on November 9, 2021, and advised AECTP that the "matter raised falls within the portfolio responsibilities of Minister Little, the Minister of Health. I have therefore transferred your correspondence to Minister Little for his consideration.".
November 30, 2021
On November 30, 2021, a member sent correspondence to Minister Little, raising concerns about decisions being taken by the government and the negative impact they would have on our industry. Also highlighted was whilst many industries would benefit from increased business over the Christmas break, the first aid one would not and once more urged for financial assistance to be considered.
December 5, 2021
On December 5, 2021, a second members letter was sent to Minister Robertson requesting targeted funding and concerns on the impact for our industry following his announcement to remove the wage subsidy. Emphasising the sector enters a hiatus from mid-December that extends into February. Additionally, Auckland had endured five lockdowns, now a looming holiday break and the imposed red light status, which would and has further damaged providers' ability to survive without financial assistance. This correspondence was also forwarded by Minister Robertson to Minister Little for his consideration.
December 17, 2021
On December 17, 2021, both AECTP and a member received a joint response from the Ministry of Health regarding the correspondence sent to Minister Robertson. The letter acknowledges the difficulties AECTP outlined and that the matters raised did "fall within his portfolio responsibilities", said author Clare Perry who responded on Minister Little's behalf.
January 24, 2022
On January 24, 2022, a member responded to the December 17, 2021, correspondence, asking what comments the Ministry had said they had noted and what actions had been taken. In addition, a further update was provided to the Minister on the new issues the first aid industry was now experiencing.
January 26, 2022
On January 26, 2022, AECTP sent further correspondence to Minister Little once more requesting targeted assistance.
February 9, 2022
On February 9, 2022, a member received a response to their January 24, 2022, email on behalf of the Minister of Health. Assurances were once more given that the comments made had been noted. However, the member has no idea which comments were noted or any pending actions that may be on the horizon. Minister Little, in his reply, also managed to get the member's name wrong.
This email goes on to say, "As the issues, you have raised fall within the portfolio responsibilities of the Minister of Finance, we have transferred your correspondence to the Hon Grant Robertson for his information".
It took 92 days for two Ministers to play political tennis with real issues affecting a small group of highly skilled providers who provide services to all facets of society and qualifications required by legislation for all workplaces to keep trading.
February 11 2022
And so to the third Minister in our saga. Date stamped "February 4, 2022" and received on February 11 2022, at 4.26 pm. Minister Hipkins replied to the correspondence sent by AECTP on October 29 2021.
Minister Hipkins refers AECTP to some available government assistance provided by the COVID wage subsidy (two months after the government withdrew it).
He also refers to the Skills Organisation (the former Industry Training Organisation), which the new Workplace Development Council replaced as the standard-setting body at the beginning of October 2021. Considering that the Education Minister has overseen this transition, It is incomprehensible that he did not know about it.
Finally, the Minister concludes he hopes his reply sent 105 days after receiving a request for urgent assistance is "helpful".