The Green Party is calling on the Government not to stop funding Social Work Study Awards, which support social workers to gain new skills and qualifications.
The Study Awards assist community workers to undertake part-time study for a degree level qualification in social work.
“If the National Government was actually committed to its so-called investment approach, investing in the very people who work at the coalface in our communities would be a priority," said Green Party social development spokesperson Jan Logie.
“The awards are an important investment to make sure our community social workers get the training and support they need.
"What the Government is calling social investment is actually cost cutting and this is another example of that.
“MSD has promoted the fact that pass rates for people receiving these awards are higher than average pass rates.
“Yet the Government is withdrawing this support at the same time as it’s about to start requiring all social workers to be qualified, and that’s going to lead to huge cost pressure on people in the sector.
“Research by Massey University shows the overwhelming positive effects of the study grants, which go to people working with our most vulnerable families.
“Social workers tell me that the sector faces real challenges attracting and retaining qualified people, and cutting this award will make it even worse.
“It just doesn’t make sense to say we’re putting children first, make qualification and registration compulsory for social workers, and then cut the support for those social workers,” Ms Logie said.