Media release: Rethinking the future or Mary Potter Hospice

May 15th, 2023

All Hospices around Aotearoa New Zealand are facing unpredictable, challenging times as soaring service delivery costs and underfunding by the government push them to rethink their future.

Last year Hospices provided free care to 17,589 people, plus their whānau in New Zealand. Nearly 850 of these were supported by Mary Potter Hospice across Wellington, Porirua and Kāpiti.

Nationally this came at a cost of over $186 million – a whopping $11 million more than 2021.  While the government provided $92.1 million, (an increase of just $3m from 2021) hospices had to raise over $94 million from their communities to bridge the gap.

For Mary Potter Hospice the cost was $16.4 million in the year to June 2022, for which it received $7.2 million from government. The deficit is largely made up from op shop income and donations and bequests from the community. In 2021/22 the deficit was $698,000.

Mary Potter Hospice chief executive Tony Paine said that “we are enormously grateful for the generosity we receive every day from our communities, but if we can’t get a decent increase in what the government contributes we are simply not going to be able to keep our promise to our communities: to be there for you and your family in your last days, helping you have a peaceful death and to live well until you die.”

“We’ve already had to limit our patient numbers for several months recently, and we’ve reduced staff numbers to an absolute minimum. We’ve been hugely reluctant to do this, but the reality is that until we get a fair deal from government we face a very precarious future.”

“We are fortunate that we have had some reserves to fall back on, to make up the nearly $1 million that we are in arrears this current financial year. But we can only do this for so long.”

Wayne Naylor from Te Kahu Pairuri o Aotearoa – Hospice New Zealand, which represents New Zealand’s 32 hospices, says the current approach to funding is unsustainable.

“We raised this issue at the beginning of 2022 and the situation, as predicted, has become worse. Hospices are an essential service and yet many people may not realise we are not fully funded by government.  We depend on second-hand shops and the goodwill of communities, in terms of fundraising, donations and grants, to cover over half of our running costs.” 

“Our vision is seeing equitable, specialist palliative care available for all people in New Zealand, whenever they need it and wherever they are. 

“Hospice plays a valuable role in the health system, keeping people out of expensive hospital beds. If hospices weren’t here, there would be a major impact on our already overstretched health system which would then have to care for the thousands of patients and families who use hospice services.”

Mary Potter Hospice Annual Street Appeal runs 18 and 20 May

For more information contact:
Tony Paine, 027 246 0177
Chief Executive, Mary Potter Hospice

Wayne Naylor, 021 201 1249             
Chief Executive, Hospice NZ