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De Boni on privatising mental health

Written By: - Date published: 11:38 am, June 5th, 2015 - 26 comments
Categories: health, Privatisation - Tags: , ,

Another excellent piece by Dita De Boni:

Bottom line for mental health services

The most vulnerable are likely to suffer with the introduction of ‘social bonds’ for the private sector.

In the United States, about $2 billion each year is shaved off community mental healthcare funding and funnelled straight into the pockets of the private sector, one way or another.

That’s the model New Zealand wants to emulate, as revealed this week with a tiny taster in the shape of “social bonds” for mental health services. It’s the shape of things to come, as private companies continue to lobby for unfettered access to public monies earmarked for health, education, prisons, and so forth.

The countries that have followed this path are what we are supposed to aspire to, despite variable outcomes (to put it kindly).

Despite the rosy language about compassion, and caring for the most vulnerable, this scenario is about the selling off, chunk by chunk, of a public asset that’s taken decades of New Zealand taxpayer graft to build, and follows a well-worn roll-out. It starts with the underfunding of existing services, which leads to the perception the Government is “incapable” of running said service, leaving the way clear for private operators to swoop in and extract profits.

Bill English, supposedly the most compassionate Cabinet member God ever put a skin around, has said “social bonds” would become “another tool in the Government’s investment approach, which aim[s] to improve the lives and prospects of the most vulnerable New Zealanders”. So far, the most vulnerable New Zealanders have had their state houses sold to property investors, their Relationships and Rape Crisis lines and other support services slashed and now their mental health services shuffled off to heartless multi-nationals. If that’s compassion, I’d hate to think what contempt looked like.

Go read the whole article at The Herald.

Then sign Labour’s open letter opposing the “social bonds” scheme…

26 comments on “De Boni on privatising mental health”

  1. Draco T Bastard 1

    It starts with the underfunding of existing services, which leads to the perception the Government is “incapable” of running said service, leaving the way clear for private operators to swoop in and extract profits.


    This is exactly what our governments have been doing for the last three decades. Cut taxes on the rich, tell us that we can’t afford the government services that we once had, cut them and then bring in the profiteers at an even higher price to provide the service we once provided via government at cost.

    Time to put the taxes back on the rich and rebuild our government services.

    • Kevin 1.1

      Time to trot it out again:


      All part of the right wing playbook.

      • Chooky 1.1.1

        It is amazing that these right wingers call themselves Christian and come from Christian families

        …they and their ‘privileged’ families who have gorged , bloated and self- congratulated themselves on the New Zealand taxpayers assets ( free high quality education, university education, state housing, social welfare …) built up over generations by hard working modest New Zealanders should hang their heads in shame

        they are thieves and have the morality of thieves…they should be exposed as thieves

  2. weka 2

    That’s an impressive number of people that have signed Labour’s letter.

    Action Station have a campaign running too,


    • Sans Cle 2.1

      What’s the protocol on signing concurrent petitions? Choose 1 or sign both?

      • One Anonymous Bloke 2.1.1


        Form a personal relationship with your local National Party representative, gather evidence of their behaviour, and act accordingly. Cajole them, expose their ignorance, humiliate them (gently) in public. Get them to take you to Cabinet Club and carry a personal recording device.

        After all, they get their facts from the Bellman. How hard can it be?

      • weka 2.1.2

        Sign both Sans.

  3. SMILIN 3

    So be it the face of modern day FASCISM SS

  4. Charles 4

    Come on readers, don’t be shy, sign both petitions. The SIS/GCSB/FVEY already know you’re reading The Standard so there’s nothing to lose! Make an easy gesture to save someone from a hellish existence.

  5. SMILIN 5

    For the mentally ill and disabled
    To John Key
    If you see me out on my feet dont walk on by
    Its just a momentary lapse of reason that makes me stand here and sigh
    Like all the mentally ill and disabled we all just want to breakdown and cry
    At the loss of our services and support we all just feel like we want die
    And the lack of compassion and understanding of what we fear and hurt deep down side
    Dont walk on by dont walk on by e i dont walk on by e i dont walk on by e i e i e i

    I just came right you prick

  6. Barbara 7

    What fascinates me in an horrific way and wonder if anybody else has thought about it is that Bill English is a devout Roman Catholic who presumably goes to mass each week with his family – there he has learnt all about the ten commmandments which apply to any citizen in NZ – basic human rights and consideration to one another. He must know off rote “to do unto others as you would want them to do unto you”. The man is a hypocrite through and through and being devout will believe completely in hell and damnation like any other devout Catholic so I hope he is getting in plenty of preparation for the hell he is destined to go to or doing plenty of Hail Marys in the hope he can avoid the heat. How he can even consider treating mentally unwell people as a commodity beggars belief. Pope Francis would be horrified at what is happening. Way to go Bill, with global warming heating up you had betta get used to it.

    And Dr Jonathan Coleman is a doctor for God’s sake – but that’s another example of the Gov. being filled with hypocrites. I can’t imagine what his bed side manner was like when he was practising.

    • Tracey 7.1

      it makes me shake my head.

      if all that stood between helping the mentally ill get into jobs and not is a private investor i will go hee.

      the ideas will still have to come from the field. an over worked. underpaid and undervalued sector

    • Ergo Robertina 7.2

      The Catholic Church is not exactly known for care and protection of the vulnerable, thus a cavalier attitude to mental health service provision in some of its adherents is hardly surprising.

      • Mike the Savage One 7.2.1

        TBH this is not just something Catholics may be found guilty of, I mean hypocrisy, you can see the same with a fair few Baptists, Mormons, and whatever other Christian or other denomination.

        When the dollar bill calls, too many forget all principles, especially if it is offering income and profit, no further questions asked.

        Some think they can reconcile this with their religion or belief, and simply go to Church or whatever place of worship on the weekend, and simply ask for forgiveness after “repenting”. Come the following Monday, they are back to serve Mammon.

  7. Sable 8

    Still quoting the rights best MSM buddy the Herald. Oh well…..

  8. Drowsy M. Kram 9

    Those with more money than they know what to do with have a stranglehold on NZ society. That domination has been fuelled by growing corruption and a crippling poverty of spirit that has given rise to increasingly repugnant Government policies, e.g. facilitating profiteering from treatment of the mentally ill.

    “It’s all about the money” is a powerful social engineering strategy, and many New Zealanders have bought into the fallacy that becoming a multimillionaire will solve their problems. But the (American) dream that all it takes to make the ‘rich list’ is ‘effort and hard work’ is delusional. Even extreme effort and crippling hard work can’t generate the (very approximately) 100 trillion dollars required for every NZ family to enjoy an asset base and security similar to the Key household. Not in a hundred years!

    NAct’s puppet masters aren’t incompetent; they’re making a killing while crafting the most unequal NZ ever. In $$$ we trust?

  9. gnomic 10

    Surely amongst the most blatant bullshit in the history of the universe. Even the shills at the NZ Initiative (aka the Business Roundtable) must have trouble getting this junk down. Social Impact Bonds my fundament. And a very sneaky introduction to boot. Perhaps someone can provide a link to evidence this could possibly have a positive outcome aside from enriching private investors?

  10. Mike the Savage One 11

    At last some in the mainstream media are taking note and are having a closer look at what this government is up to. But they have already been experimenting with outsourced providers for some time, but nobody seemed to take much interest, until this bizarre “social bonds” policy was mentioned before and in the Budget announcement.


    It was all kicked off in the UK many years ago, and such Professors like Mansel Aylward have something to feel responsible for:


    In the UK there are now serious doubts about the approach they have taken, which admittedly went further than what MSD have so far tried here:



    I encourage the media and opposition dig further into all this, and ask more questions, as it has all been based on questionable “evidence” in the first place.

  11. Gordon Reynolds 12

    Once again a government has declared that its employees cannot provide a service equal to the private sector.
    Perhaps the government should simply try setting performance standard and auditing them regularly as they will be required to do for the private sector and see if the deliverables can be met.
    There might just be a need to staff and fund the departments adequately in the first place though.
    At least the funds will stay in the government and there will be no dividend paid to shareholders who no doubt had the spare cash to buy bonds.

  12. Rodel 13

    Slowly & and quietly privatizing for profit the mental health system, social housing, the schools, the prisons-what’s next? the police or the armed forces?

  13. Gareth 14

    Bill English on the social bond scheme – “We don’t mind it being expensive if we get results” !

    Then why not invest the money directly into social services and not have to pay the extra to investors. Do the exact same scheme with the government being the only investor and see how you go first.


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