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Another Lifeline cut

Written By: - Date published: 7:07 am, July 1st, 2016 - 45 comments
Categories: accountability, human rights, national, quality of life - Tags: , , , , ,

Of the 2015 budget Deborah Russell wrote:

Very quietly, a cut here and a decrease there, a failure to keep up with inflation in one place, and ignoring increasing population in another place, the Government is walking away from New Zealand’s longstanding social compact.

It’s a perfect description of what is going on – NZ as an egalitarian, caring and responsible country is dying a death of 1000 cuts, to be replaced by Key’s “Brighter Future”. Case in point yesterday:

Lifeline Aotearoa faces closure because of lack of funds

Counselling service Lifeline Aotearoa is searching for a lifeline of its own after announcing it only has enough money to run for one more year.

Established in 1964, Lifeline provides several counselling and suicide prevention services including 24-hour help lines for people in crisis. By June 30, 2017, all the company’s reserves and funds from a new mortgage on its Auckland property will be exhausted.

Lifeline board chairman Ben Palmer said appeals for Government help were rejected and they are appealing to the public for help.

Mr Palmer said New Zealand’s suicide rate, which continued to reach “epidemic proportions” meant services provided by organisations such as Lifeline were vital for the community.

Green Party health spokesman Kevin Hague said if Lifeline’s help lines were axed, so too would a significant safety net for many New Zealanders. “When a service that receives 15,000 calls from New Zealanders in distress and needing mental health assistance is threatened with closure, there are serious questions about the viability of the entire mental health system,” he said. …

Cutting Lifeline is yet another erosion of our threadbare social fabric. How many deaths will this one cost?

You can donate to Lifeline on their site, and sign a petition here.


45 comments on “Another Lifeline cut”

  1. mauī 1

    Death by a thousand cuts is an often used term, but this change really will cause more deaths. The lives of close family members will be affected for the rest of their lives too.

    • Peter 1.1

      The point is that National do not fundamentally see government as responsible for society, that’s up to the community and the individual. Egalitarian society/ safety nets/caring etc are not terms that frequent discussion on their cocktail circuits’.

      Their preferred method of dealing with social issues is currently being demonstrated in Kaitangata http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11666148

      • Brendon Harre -Left wing Liberal 1.1.1

        Peter do you really have a naive Victorian approach to social needs? Do you really believe private enterprise and charity is all that is needed to solve social problems?

        P.S I used to have a flatmate from Kai and I wish it well. A hundred or so families should flock down there and take the available jobs and affordable housing. They will have a great life.

        But our social problems are much bigger than this. Tens of thousands of families lack adequate housing and hundreds of thousands of families are being priced out of housing or turned into mortgage slaves. The Kai’s of NZ do not have the houses or jobs to accommodate these masses and if they did have to face those masses they would have the same problems of lack of infrastructure, overwhelmed planning, NIMBYism and escalating prices. Government has to be part of solution addressing the social needs of the housing crisis. Repeatedly it has been demonstrated that governments are needed to play a part to solve social problems in our and other progressive countries history.

      • Bill 1.1.2

        The point is that National do not fundamentally see government as responsible for society, that’s up to the community and the individual.

        In deed. Wonder how long it will be before we start seeing those fundraising dinners like they have in the US, where ‘the good and the great’ come together and compete over the size of cheque they will write out to support worthy and deserving causes.

        This is just an observation and not intended to put people off giving money, but private donations to ‘Lifeline’ (assuming they were 100% government funded before now) are the first step of a journey down the road to the doors of that kind of fundraising gala event.

        New Zealand needs a radical reversal in its political culture.

      • ALH84001 1.1.3

        Really, Peter?? I wonder how many times you’ve been to one of our FREE public hospitals?

        You way is the law of the jungle; survival of the wealthiest, and devil take everyone else.

        No thanks. I’ve seen that kind of ideology playing out in the US. If that’s what you want, feel free to leave.

        • Macro 1.1.3.1

          Peter was just pointing out that the was they way our current “govt” thought about social justice. He is quite correct. They have no compassion, empathy, or moral compass whatsoever.

      • TopHat 1.1.4

        “” that’s up to the community and the individual.””
        if they would allow us at least the odd breath we could get along with it.

        Now question. If, National do not fundamentally see government as responsible for society, that’s up to the community and the individual. Why do they hobble the very members of society that step up to the plate and attempt to deliver this for them?

  2. esoteric pineapples 2

    Another “nice to have” service cut. Maybe if the changed their name to Lifeline for Farmers and Others Aotearoa they might have more of a chance of getting govt funding

    • save nz 2.1

      How about Tax Haven Lifeline. Utilised by politicians around the world.

      …in an unstable world where IRD and do-gooders can find you, what happens when you only have a year or two (thanks Key and Shewan for the heads up and ample time) to move your secret and illegal slush funds and escape detection…

      oh think of the poor politicians…

  3. Draco T Bastard 3

    How many deaths will this one cost?

    As the government knows that their actions are causing deaths why aren’t we prosecuting them for murder?

    • srylands 3.1

      Feel free to take a private prosecution.

    • Korero Pono 3.2

      +1 – Genocide in New Zealand on a mass scale, not just suicides, but death from preventable poverty related illnesses, inadequate nutrition, cold/damp/mouldy social housing. Are Governments intentionally killing off citizens?

  4. johnm 4

    There is a waiting period for cataract surgery, often a long time if not deemed serious enough. Then they do one eye and you can wait forever to get the other one done.

    Fred Hollows collectors were round at my place some weeks ago and they mentioned the foundation had offered the government their assistance to reduce the waiting time but were turned down! 🙁

  5. So bad this government. If lifeline goes, suicide rates will go up. The people that need help the most, at that time they most need it, will not get that help.

    • Heather Grimwood 5.1

      To MM and all: I served on first Emergency service in Dunedin in ’70’s, taking turn at having night phone to my home.
      Unemployment was just becoming a factor, and Christmas period difficult, producing most assault cases, a thing we began to tag separately as this hadn’t been realised as a social factor of import .
      There was some pretty harrowing stuff …sometimes safety of victim. I once actually drove to an address after shift , stayed in car, and ordered a guy to drop his knife in the car window ( as I’d told the woman to get out of the house and he’d followed ) as police not immediately available.
      Much time was spent on lonely or suicidal folk. I can not forget suicides not prevented because flying squad not available or couldn’t get there in time.
      Lifeline is hugely needed in these times and I suggest the Minister and colleagues would do well to sit beside a phone even for an hour.

  6. srylands 6

    Why has nobody mentioned that this is simply another provider losing a contract. These services will continue.

    http://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/national-telehealth-services

    • Draco T Bastard 6.1

      Ah, more profiteering by the private sector on government to provide worse services.

      And you may not have noticed but Lifeline isn’t in the list of services covered.

      • DoublePlusGood 6.1.1

        And the poisons centre are so underfunded they’ve posted linked to a whole 3 news items on their website in 5 years…

      • McFlock 6.1.2

        lol

      • aerobubble 6.1.3

        Take education if you loath universal education or just dont want to pay the full cost, the Nats reward the decay and fund alternatives, like private and charter. Of course this actual costs more and erodes the professional standing of the industy. Its essentiall govt intervention on top of govt intervetion.

        We stipulate that children must have educatiob, this does not mean poor performing public schools justifying funding private and charter schools, it mean funding schooling.

        Oh on other nonsense why is Moro so set on schools dictating to parents what their kids must do to the nth degree, there are limits. Hair length should be out of their scope when hair can be tied up.

  7. srylands 7

    “It’s a perfect description of what is going on – NZ as an egalitarian, caring and responsible country is dying a death of 1000 cuts, to be replaced by Key’s “Brighter Future”. ”
    ____

    If you lie often enough you will actually believe it to be true.

    I suggest that you read about the results being achieved via social investment.

    https://www.beehive.govt.nz/speech/speech-treasury-guest-lecture-series-social-investment

    Then read the NZPC report on social services:

    http://www.productivity.govt.nz/inquiry-content/2032?stage=4

    This Government is achieving more for vulnerable New Zealanders than any in the history of the nation.

    • You are quite the comedian , aren’t you…

    • Barfly 7.2

      FIFY

      This Government is creating more vulnerable New Zealanders than any in the history of the nation.

    • KJT 7.3

      This Government has lied with statistics more than any other in our History.

      • Mr Nobody 7.3.1

        You must be getting this government confused with the previous Labour one which had frontline WINZ staff actively shift people from The unemployment stats to Sickness benefit to improve their propaganda.

        • McFlock 7.3.1.1

          as opposed to saying that anyone who looks for jobs only online in 2016 isn’t actively seeking work?

          At least under labour they still got a benefit. Now the nats pretend to pay them more, then find excuses to kick them off.

        • KJT 7.3.1.2

          As apposed to this one, that define one hour a week as employment.

        • Heather Grimwood 7.3.1.3

          To Mr Nobody : It was to improve their level of benefit and save them hassle!

        • Draco T Bastard 7.3.1.4

          Got any reputable citations for that?
          To put it bluntly, prove it.

    • Stuart Munro 7.4

      Pff … this government has embraced eugenics.

      The death of the homeless man crushed in the cardboard compacter should see the resignations of housing and social welfare ministers. But they’re staying because treating people like garbage is their agenda – killing optional. The gulag is here.

      • aerobubble 7.4.1

        One of your kids goes to starship and you ask your friend who sometimes helps out to take a kid. They have six already. A family in crisis couldn’t turn to govt, and now two families are paying the price, six kids whose parents t – rightly – in jail.

        Then to add to the miserable event, guess who hijacks the rightful outrage. SST. More one size fits all punitive distraction. When we should be asking about how this poor child fell into the gaps, we talk about the justice system not perfectly accomodating SST restrictions. Bad things happen, justice isnt fot the SST, its not even for the victims, its for us all and must overlook pleadings of some to the longer state of society.

    • Rodel 7.5

      “‘This government is achieving more for vulnerable New Zealanders than any in the history of the nation”.
      NO!
      This government is achieving more for Tory New Zealanders than any other in the history of the nation.
      AND
      This government is achieving less for vulnerable New Zealanders than any other in the history of the nation.

    • Korero pono 7.6

      That’s so true srylands, the government has achieved increased poverty, increased inequality, increased the food bank industry they’re booming, increase of those needing healh services because of poor nutrition directly related to food insecurity. Yup this government has done a great deal.

  8. I find this whole slow decay of critical services really distressing. Numbers on a paper translating into real harm.

    Thank you (I suppose!) for highlighting yet another way that this current government is walking away from the long standing agreement that New Zealanders have had to look after each other.

  9. Heather Grimwood 10

    Mr Nobody and DB…….apologies for my carelessness …..omitted to ad ‘sarc’

  10. Richardrawshark 11

    Note, more important news in the Herald to discuss, Swittle or whatever that is, Rawdon and Nadine having a spat, Beiber got a new Haircut, Rhianna posed really weirdly in make up, photo’s included.

    Nothing else happened in the world apparently now did life line get cut/shut, shafted buy the Nats.

    Bring back the inquisitor general, they are all practising witchcraft Burn the witches!

    Sarcasm with just a hint of irony, and flavoured with a fuck you national sauce.

  11. Heather Grimwood 12

    To Mr Nobody and DTB….apologies, had left specs elsewhere and eyes somewhat dim when muddled answer at 10.
    I have found in Wikipedia what confirms my memory, (because one interested in policies remembers controversies), but hesitate to contact the Minister of the time at this time of night for confirmation. The article is under ‘Welfare in New Zealand’, under section headed ‘Controversies.’
    There were people who had been on sickness benefit longtime who were shifted to invalid’s section, which meant certainty of income and lack of hassle through not having to ‘check in’ so often. My brother, terminal for two years was in this category.
    The remainder however, were expected to move when recovered to ‘unemployed’ i.e. as job seekers, and were monitored to do so.
    Possibly Hansard has reference to it, but I am too busy presently to do more.

  12. The New Student 13

    Is the State’s revenue gathering system economic? I’m happy to pay more taxes so more can be distributed amongst our social services. Instead of a bit here, a bit there. Or is that stupid

    • Draco T Bastard 13.1

      Better question: Is capitalism economic?

      Because all the difficulties that we’re having (climate change, poverty, resource depletion, environmental degradation, etc) can all be brought back to capitalism. We even have the capitalists lobbying governments against saving the environment because they’ll lose profits and they do this despite the fact that not having an environment will kill everyone.

  13. Smilin 14

    This is how totalitarianism works it takes away as many historical pillars as it can for no credible reason one by one in the case of this govt
    Just look at the number of long standing public social and work institutions they have had a crack at because of global Austerity and all of it caused by greed of people like Key who never have a reason to respect for the values that were before their own time of existence on this planet because knowledge of history produces understanding of a nation . Power these days seems to mean staying in power by breaking all that doesn’t follow the privileged conventions of Key and co in this country and because people like Key got it all for free but they will never admit it because of the bs education that gave them the credence to believe the doctrine they follow and up hold at the expense of those who will never be able to attain what they have
    The utter BS that this govt practices goes against just about every thing that was every known to be acceptable in the framework of this society which like most countries is unique and should not be subject to changes that are not borne out the specific needs of this society and not a financiers prerogative driven by ideologies that never see the democratic light of day

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