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Improving support for people in rural communities

MSD is strengthening rural community support coordination, including Heartland Services and Information and Advisory Services:

  • Heartland Services provides access to government and non-government information, support and advice in rural communities, and
  • Information and Advisory Services are a range of family-support related information and advice services, delivered across the country.

Around 14% of New Zealanders live in rural areas. The lives and experiences of rural people differ significantly between rural communities in more rural/remote areas compared to rural areas with high urban influences. People in more urban areas have greater access to a wider range of services, whereas people in more remote rural areas are more likely to have poorer access to services.

Budget 2020 funding to improve support for under-served rural and provincial communities

Through Budget 2020, $19.8 million is being invested over four years to make sure existing Heartland Services are more viable and cost pressures experienced by Information and Advisory Services are addressed. This funding boost will help strengthen MSD-funded rural community coordination services, increasing access to government and non-government information, support and advice.

As part of this work to strengthen rural support, MSD will work with providers and communities to improve access to services for whānau and communities. The aim is to develop an accessible service that is fit-for-purpose and better able to support people in rural communities to find the right support, based on their need.

Next steps

In 2020/21, the focus of the funding will be on increasing the stability of Heartland Services and addressing cost pressures faced by Information and Advisory Services.

We’ll be working closely with current Heartland Service and Information and Advisory Service providers and key stakeholders on the next steps in the development of the rural community coordination services. We’ll communicate more about the opportunities to get involved in this work in the coming months.

If you have any questions or want to know more about the project, please email us:

Breakdown of funding

There’s more information about this Budget 2020 initiative on our MSD website.

Service typeFunding typeYear 1 20/21 ($m)Year 2 21/22 ($m)

Year 3 22/23 ($m)

Year 4 23/24 ($m)

4-year total ($m)

Heartland Service


Information and Advisory Service
Service delivery 1.728 3.046 6.722 6.722 18.218
Design, implementation and evaluation 0.35 0.4 0.4 0.4 1.55
Total 2.078 3.446 7.122 7.122 7.122
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