web analytics

Lifeline funding cut

Written By: - Date published: 1:10 pm, August 2nd, 2017 - 58 comments
Categories: health, national - Tags: , ,

We have the highest rate of youth suicide in the “developed” world. The Nats just cut the funding to Lifeline – Government axes $800,000 Lifeline contract

In March this year, the Ministry of Health axed a decade-long $800,000 contract for Lifeline to provide suicide-prevention training to frontline workers.

The funding cut, which was revealed to the Herald through documents provided to Labour under the Official Information Act, “devastated” Lifeline – an organisation that has worked to prevent suicide in New Zealand for more than 50 years.

The funding was shifted to a “new preferred supplier” after several contractors pitched for the work last November, a ministry official said.

News of the terminated Lifeline contract comes just days after an international expert told an Auckland conference of mental health workers – and ministry officials – that training, particularly the programme run by Lifeline, was one of the most important suicide-prevention strategies worldwide.

In the Herald today – PM’s wife on board of organisation that won million-dollar suicide prevention contract

An organisation that recently won a million-dollar government contract has dismissed speculation that the presence of the Prime Minister’s wife on the board was a factor.

It may be completely innocent as all the interested parties claim. But it’s not a good look to be destroying Lifeline, an organisation doing world class work in an area of desperate need. You don’t easily replace that experience.

58 comments on “Lifeline funding cut”

  1. srylands 1

    And the contract with the new provider includes an increase of funding of 31.25% compared to the previous provider.

    Your post (and to be fair the story) is presenting this as a “cut” when it is an attempt to provide better services at higher volume.

    It is inconceivable that the experts that chose the new provider would have been influenced by anything other than value for money considerations.

    • McFlock 1.1

      Copy that.

      They gave it to the most aspirational bidder who happens to have no experience in the field, because corruption is inconceivable.

      • While I’m open to the possibility that there’s either corruption or simply undue influence from the Prime Minister’s spouse going on, shouldn’t we be pushing for some investigative journalism on the matter rather than simply jumping to conclusions? Especially as a pacific-centred approach in the field should be relatively welcome.

        I agree it is a little fishy however that this area is getting a significant funding increase in a period when the government is being increasingly close-fisted with NGOs.

        That said, I will go on the record as saying that assuming everything is above board, my preferred outcome would have been to split the new funding level between the existing service provider and the new one and then evaluate whether both are succeeding next year, preferably with at least the same level of funding for lifeline. There would seem to be more than enough work to justify multiple services in this area.

        • McFlock

          That’s the thing.

          I found Sryland’s rejection of corruption as “inconceivable” to be laughable, but the best case scenario is that they decided to completely change provider when the current provider seemed to be doing the job perfectly well.

          That doesn’t mean the job couldn’t be done better, but having at least one politically-highly-connected person on the board to me suggests the possibility that they got the job more because they were adept at filling in tenders with the right language.

          • AB

            Exactly – and who in their right mind would take the risk of a wholesale, one-hit change of provider in an area like this where the implications of provider failure are so truly awful?
            A pilot programme or split funding over a transition period would seem to be a minimal requirement for prudence. So if not corruption then incompetence.

            • Draco T Bastard

              and who in their right mind would take the risk of a wholesale, one-hit change of provider in an area like this where the implications of provider failure are so truly awful?


              They may be psychopaths but that doesn’t mean that they’re not in their right mind.

          • Matthew Whitehead

            Well, just like it’s absolutely fair to reject out of hand assertions that there’s no way it could be corruption or improper influence, I think it’s also reasonable to point out that there is a certain level of hubris to assuming that Le Va couldn’t possibly have convinced the panel that they could do a better job than lifeline on their merits. (it also starts straying into potentially problematic racial territory as well given that this will be the first real spotlight on pacific mental health in quite some time) I know that’s not what you’re saying, but some people are and I think it’s reasonable to just stick to “this smells a little and deserves a real investigation,” either an official inquiry or simply sicking an investigative journalist on it.

            And if your suggestion is right, btw, it’s sorta hard to say that boards should ignore someone submitting a better application because they might simply have been walked through it by someone with institutional knowledge- you’re sort of expected to have basic knowledge of how to fill out a tender in the first place, and beyond that panels are supposed to consider the merits of each proposal not simply whether they use the right buzzwords, so it shouldn’t be that easy to persuade them if they’re truly independent experts. This is why I would really like to hear someone interview the panel on what their process was and why they chose to award the tender to Le Va, as then their reasons can be fact-checked and we can either have the evidence we need to say something untoward did in fact happen, or we can realise that they simply won the tender because they seemed to have an innovative approach that could help people, and then we can either move on to other political issues, or simply go back to trying to get some funding for Lifeline to salvage its training services so that they can keep doing highly necessary work while this new service gets set up.

            • Draco T Bastard

              or we can realise that they simply won the tender because they seemed to have an innovative approach that could help people

              If they’re going to win on that then I expect to see several peer-reviewed papers on that innovative approach.

              • While I agree with you with regards to what they did in this case- which is completely ditching Lifeline in favour of the new service, there’s absolutely room to experiment with parallel models and see how they do in practice so long as there’s no research already out there suggesting their model is a bad idea in principle. I think we should be willing to lead a bit, that’s what the whole “innovative” thing is supposed to mean.

                • Of course there’s room to experiment but you do that before you dump a working model for the new one. And then you use the same provider as well – saves on administration and stress for the people involved.

            • McFlock

              While you are correct, I do think that any wholesale change in any area, particularly when it involves abandoning established providers in favour of new entrants into the field, needs to be examined in the context of this government’s track record in issuing and supervising tenders for work.

              In that light, I’m reluctant to simply request further investigation – I think the need for change should be evident from the outset, otherwise I’m frankly bloody suspicious.

              As to writing tenders, it’s one thing to write a realistic tender about what can be offered by a provider. But in my experience the most difficult person to compete against for a job is someone who doesn’t really care and bullshits just enough to appear like a good employee who is realistically aspirational, when in fact they’re inexperienced and have no idea how much work the role entails.

              It’s not just about buzzwords, it’s about whether the new provider really can do more and provide better value than the experienced provider claimed to be capable of. That’s a damned big threshhold unless the existing provider was manifestly incompetent.

              • Yeah, it sounds like we’re on the same page here. Lifeline seemed to be performing very well from what people who have used the service have been saying, so it’s surprising that a completely novice operation would win a competitive tender against them. If it were just that fact, or just the fact that the PM’s wife is on their board, then this wouldn’t really smell fishy enough to be a story… but it does smell, and I hope to hear more facts about it in the future.

          • One Anonymous Bloke

            Not to mention the chief science advisor to the MSD is on the board of directors of The Wise Group, LeVa’s parent company.

            Cosy eh.

            That said, NZ is a small country population-wise, so these situations are bound to occur from time to time.

            So far as I’m concerned the health budget should be spent on public services, not private providers, so whether this is a crone appointment or not it’d be gone by lunchtime if I were PM.

            • Draco T Bastard

              So far as I’m concerned the health budget should be spent on public services, not private providers, so whether this is a crone appointment or not it’d be gone by lunchtime if I were PM.

              Fully agree that the health budget, and government services in general, should be spent fully in house. The research budget could, of course, be spent in house, in universities or private sector businesses.

        • greywarshark

          then evaluate whether both are succeeding next year, preferably with at least the same level of funding for lifeline.

          How do you evaluate ethically. If the object is stopping suicide, then the expected numbers will go up or down. So do you say ‘Oh dear, more people topped themselves – the new plan is not working?

          And partly it is talking to troubled people, distressed, lonely people. Does the organisation find out how many times they have called. It might be regularly twice a week. Would money be saved by limiting them to two? And what if the contact with someone else is what keeps them alive? Are they just an expensive ‘want’ rather than a ‘need’? Do you set them a code and give them so many allowed calls.

          The thing is that Lifeline trains its own people in accordance with its own culture, which I understand is to kindly, non judgmental, not offering advice or very much, being positive etc and trying to be not personal and confidential.

          This new outfit will presumably come under the new Social Investment budget and may be the reason why the new line was introduced by English. I don’t like pollies setting up government jobs for their own relatives. The Gnats are bad enough at selling off, leasing off, giving away bits of the country and its services to outfits like Serco, but unleashing their sanctimonious family members on suffering humanity is the last straw. Along with the desire for disclosure by agencies having government funding, this next would lead to knocks on the door from someone – I am not from government but private (so better) and I am here to help you and take over your life.

          This from the previous post 1/8/17 on this from Descendant of Sssmith makes concerning reading:

          Trying to bury bad news

          “In last year’s budget, the Nats awarded a $4.8m contract to an unknown organisation called PEDA without tender and against official advice. The people behind PEDA were apparently tied to Bill English via his wife. The full truth still hasn’t come out. Now, the Nats are up to the same trick with Parents Inc.

          Paula Bennett’s Ministry of Social Development will pay $2.4 million to Parents Inc for “parenting courses for the caregivers of vulnerable children”. This contract was untendered and previously unknown.”

          Parents Inc: it’s PEDA redux

    • Gabby 1.2

      Who are these experts?

    • Keepcalmcarryon 1.3

      Inconceivable I tell you.

  2. savenz 2

    Disgusting! But what we have come to expect from this crony government.

  3. zuszsa 3

    I would dearly love someone to do some investigating of The Wise Group (of which LaVa is a subsidary). As an organisation they seem to be hoovering up all sorts of government social sector contracts and IMHO something about them has a bit of a whiff.

  4. Venezia 4

    I thought the same. No names, no accountability. How can you find the information about who they are?

  5. You don’t easily replace that experience.

    I suspect that the new organisation fully expects all the Lifeline personnel to shift over to them – with the associated pay cut.

    After all, there’s absolutely no possibility that the new organisation has it’s own personnel already. Such a service isn’t something that a country is going to have competition in.

    • And thus the squeeze continues. =/

    • Crunchy 5.2

      “with the associated pay cut.”
      Got any evidence to back up that assertion?

      • Not ATM. IIRC, there was something about the change in blood-test providers in Auckland to a new firm. The new firm was dependent upon the existing personnel at lower wages to even start.

        • Crunchy

          Not at the moment, if I recall rightly, there was something…
          You have the gall to demand evidence, with statements like that?
          Little surprise that you have zero cred, and your ideology has zero cred.

          • Draco T Bastard

            Did you note the word ‘suspect’ in my first comment?

            It’s a way to indicate that I’m not giving an absolute, this will happen. But there is form in NZ for such things:

            Ms Lawer acknowledged that under the law the small family-owned business had a right to make her redundant.

            But an agreement for a redundancy payment was in her original contract, and Ms Lawer said that should have been passed along as contracts changed hands. She has never received one.

            She wants either Jani-King or Phagura Limited to pay her out $6804, or the equivalent of 30 weeks’ wages.

            Despite pesky little things like laws.

        • DoublePlusGood

          Moving from Diagnostic Medlab to Labtests absolutely resulted in a whole pile of less experienced (and in a couple of personal instances, thoroughly incompetent) phlebotomists being hired by Labtests at terrible wages, to underbid the contract. There were all sorts of difficulties at the beginning where they clearly didn’t have a great results reporting system, causing problems for health professionals that needed the results.

  6. Crunchy 6

    I’m sure I read (was it here?) a complaint that massively increasing suicide numbers were the fault of the National Govt. So that same Govt a)increases funding massively and b) takes the contract away from an organisation that obviously hasn’t been doing a very good job.
    Hard to please some people…

    • Stuart Munro 6.1

      Yup – take the job away from the world leading experts and give it to a bunch of wannabes from Dipton without addressing the structural causes. Geneyis!

      And if Labour don’t strike it down on day one they’ll have substantially worse suicide figures in their first term for the plague rats of the MSM to whinge about to try to build a Gnat recovery.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 6.1.1

        That depends: nationalising public services doesn’t mean withdrawing them, it just reduces the profit gouging.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 6.2

      Either way it’s an ambulance at the bottom of the cliff the National Party shoves people over.

      By the time Mary English is wringing her hands in a counselling session, the damage has already been done.

      This is your right wing dogma though: people commit suicide because they made bad choices. Nothing to do with you at all.

    • takes the contract away from an organisation that obviously hasn’t been doing a very good job.

      Got anything to back up that assertion?

      • Crunchy 6.3.1

        You’re kidding, right?
        I could search for and link to countless comments on this site, official statistics, MSM reports etc referring to increasing suicide numbers. I’m not going to play your little game – I’m too busy providing well paid jobs and safe working conditions to a whole bunch of hard working people actually doing great things for NZ. Those good jobs and the camaraderie, satisfaction pastoral support if needed that help to keep people from topping themselves. Maybe you should do the same instead of trying to convince people that their lives are fucked because it’s someone else’s fault. FFS

        • greywarshark

          You’re kidding right Crunchy (is that the Clown – perhaps you don’t take the role of political policies for all in the country seriously).

          You appear to be affronted about people worrying about suicide numbers and wanting to keep preventative methods and agencies keeping them at the minimum.

          So satisfied you are in your little bubble providing well paid jobs you say,
          safe working conditions, to hard working people. You say they are actually doing great things for NZ, but what is not explained so we don’t know if its true. And I wonder whether you have done something original or just set up a business to carry out what government used to do and has now privatised.

          Whatever you are so self-satisfied you sail along a metre above the common ground we walk on. There are hundreds of thousands who can’t get enough jobs or hours to provide a living. It is not a luxury for them to get pastoral support to help with their problems, but government is reluctant to provide it and I guess you don’t want to see any of your taxes going for it.

          What’s more you don’t give a fuck about them, only thinking of us all with derision, so why don’t you stay away and enjoy your spare time with your mates in the bubble. You might learn some reality if you keep coming here and that would do your head in. Mr/Ms Smug – no bill to be paid for this advice, just pay your taxes please that have been legally calculated.

          • Crunchy

            If your comprehension skills were better you may have noticed that I’m supporting greater Govt funding to a new initiative where an established organisation is not performing well – based on statistics. If you don’t want attempts to keep people from suiciding to score political points you are a POS.
            I lead an organisation (started as a small business by others many years ago) that had an average H&S record, and more than a few disengaged staff. I’m proud that with my blue collar roots and self funded skills update I have decreased harm and increased earnings and job satisfaction for over 50 people.
            I pay PAYE & have no ability to minimise tax.
            The rest of your envious waffle doesn’t deserve response, but maybe you should get on the Labour Party list as you appear ad useful as most of them.

            • greywarshark

              Statements of a pompous self-satisfied prick

              [people, dial back the abuse please – weka]

        • Draco T Bastard

          I could search for and link to countless comments on this site, official statistics, MSM reports etc referring to increasing suicide numbers.

          That’s irrelevant. We need statistics to show that Lifeline was/is doing a bad job.

          I’m not going to play your little game

          You don’t like it that you got called out on your lie.

          • Crunchy

            Ok, you win. I’ll accept your assertion that suicide rates are dropping. Is it because lifeline have been doing such a great job, or is it because NZ is in great shape after 9 years of good Govt?

            • srylands

              You are wasting your time with reasoned argument here. It is worth trying for while to remind yourself that nothing has changed. Then move on.

            • Draco T Bastard

              I’ll accept your assertion that suicide rates are dropping. Is it because lifeline have been doing such a great job, or is it because NZ is in great shape after 9 years of good Govt?

              And that would be another lie (I didn’t assert that suicide rates are dropping) followed by a leading question. You really do use a lot of deceit when communicating don’t you?

              Just because some suicide rates are going up doesn’t necessitate that Lifeline are doing a poor job.

              After all, Lifeline only gets involved if the people thinking of committing suicide call them. So, what percentage of people commit suicide after calling Lifeline? Has that rate gone up, down or remained steady?

              The next part is education but there’s a pesky law that prevents any talk about suicide in the public space and so that’s a little difficult.

              You are, quite simply, lying scum.

          • Crunchy

            So do you assert that stastically proven increases in suicides are due to this Govt?

  7. Ad 7

    This kind of service should be treated the same as ambulances:
    a non-contested fully hospital-integrated service.

    In the inevitable service breakdowns as one provider changes for another, the damage is to actual people.
    Not worth it.

  8. Sacha 8

    Let’s not get carried away in this instance. The contract concerned was not for frontline suicide counselling itself – which Lifeline is still funded for – but to “provide suicide-prevention training to frontline workers”.

    Without more details we cannot compare what Le Va and Lifeline were offering, but there has always been a problem with Pakeha-led services resulting in worse results for Maori and Pasifika people.

    • weka 8.1


      Also an issue is how much Lifeline depend on that contract to function as an organisation.

      • Sacha 8.1.1

        That seems more likely to be a legit issue – this govt have screwed down admin funding for most organisations in favour of tagged service funding at the cheapest rate they can get – unless its a for-profit contractor, strangely.

    • Crunchy 8.2

      Hi Sacha
      So can you confirm that lifeline is still funded for their core activity?
      Does this mean that Govt funding is actually massively increased, and more targeted to increasingly vulnerable communities?
      Surely the author of this post isn’t bullshitting?

  9. esoteric pineapples 9

    Reading the comments on this from Martin Bradbury at The Daily Blog, it seems that Dr Mary English is very religious and has problems with abortion, gays and feminism. If this is true, then I would wonder if the company who won the contract has a similar perspective, wants to “cure” people of these issues and will be spinning this line when it counsels people.

    • Sabine 9.1

      just pray the suicidal thoughts away.

      Christians for Mammon! all hail the golden cow. Blessed be.

    • weka 9.2

      Mary English is also anti-abortion. I can’t confirm this with a link, but am pretty sure she was a senior figure in SPUC back in the day (pre-internet). There’s enough there to look at conflicts of interest.

  10. Sabine 10

    forced birther and anti mental healthcare.


  11. patricia bremner 11

    National. Underfund it.
    Say it is failing.
    Bring in your privatised model.
    Publicise losses
    Privatise profits.

    Happens all the time.

    Will be interesting to see what the Jacinda “circuit breaker” offers on mental health.

    I’m “positively certain” it will be better than the above. Cheers!!!!!

  12. SMILIN 12

    couldnt they get a grant from lotto, worthy cause just as important as health education and housing .
    i forgot they dont get anything either because of this neoliberal buy out of our sovereignty
    how long before we officially hear the nz govt is no longer credible in the UN and we are fully taken over either by the US or Australia ?

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Greens work to secure inquiry into Wild West student accommodation sector
    The Green Party has begun the process for a Select Committee inquiry into student accommodation, which has been exposed during COVID-19 as an under-regulated sector that straddles students with unfair debt. ...
    55 mins ago
  • New Zealand joins global search for COVID-19 vaccine
    Rt Hon Winston Peters, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs Hon Megan Woods, Minister of Research, Science and Innovation Hon Dr David Clark, Minister of Health Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters, Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods,  and Health Minister David Clark today announced a COVID-19 vaccine strategy, ...
    1 day ago
  • Budget 2020: Five things to know
    Budget 2020 is about rebuilding together, supporting jobs, getting business moving and the books back into the black. It’s an integral part of our COVID-19 economic response, and our plan to grow our economy and get New Zealand moving again. Here’s a quick look at the five top things you ...
    2 days ago
  • Coalition Government approves essential upgrades on Ōhakea Air Base
    The Coalition Government has approved $206 million in essential upgrades at Ōhakea Air Base.  Defence Minister Ron Mark said the money would be spent on improving old infrastructure. He said safety issues would be addressed, as well as upgrades to taxiways, accommodation and fresh, storm and waste water systems. "This ...
    6 days ago
  • Attributable to the Rt Hon Winston Peters
    Rt Hon Winston Peters, Leader of New Zealand First “I am not persisting with this case just for myself, but for all people who have had their privacy breached. Privacy of information is a cornerstone of our country’s democracy. Without it our society truly faces a bleak future. We now ...
    1 week ago
  • Forestry Minister Shane Jones moves to protect sawmills
    Forestry Minister Shane Jones has introduced a Bill to Parliament that he says will "force more transparency, integrity and respect" for the domestic wood-processing sector through the registration of log traders and practice standards. The Forests (Regulation of Log Traders and Forestry Advisers) Amendment Bill had its first reading in ...
    1 week ago
  • Green MP joins international call to cancel developing countries’ debt
    Green MP Golriz Ghahraman is joining over 300 lawmakers from around the world in calling on the big banks and the IMF to forgive the debt of developing countries, in the wake of the COVID crisis. ...
    1 week ago
  • Forestry Minister Shane Jones swipes back at billion trees critics
    Forestry Minister Shane Jones says concerns that carbon foresters are planting pine trees that will never be harvested are the result of "misinformation". "The billion tree strategy is an excellent idea, unfortunately from time to time it's tainted by misinformation spread by the National Party or their grandees, hiding in scattered ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Budget boost for refugee families a win for compassion
    The Green Party welcomes funding in the budget to reunite more refugees with their families, ensuring they have the best chance at a new life in Aotearoa New Zealand. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • How Budget 2020 is supporting jobs
    This year’s Budget is about rebuilding New Zealand together in the face of COVID-19. Jobs are central to how we’re going to do that.There’s a lot of targeted investment for employment in this year’s Budget, with announcements on creating new jobs, training people for the jobs we have, and supporting ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Winston Peters says China didn’t want NZ to go into lockdown
    Speaking to Stuff's Coronavirus NZ podcast, Foreign Minister Winston Peters revealed China tried to dissuade New Zealand from going into lockdown. “Without speaking out of turn, they wanted a discussion as to why we were doing it, because they thought it was an overreaction,” Mr Peters told Stuff’s Coronavirus NZ podcast. He also ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Changes made to Overseas Investment Act to protect New Zealand assets
    The Coalition Government is making changes to the Overseas Investment Act to ensure New Zealand assets don't fall into the hands of foreign ownership in the economic aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. Associate Minister of Finance David Parker announced the Act will be amended to bring forward a national interest ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Winston Peters: Trans-Tasman bubble to help tourism industry make swift recovery
    A quick start to a trans-Tasman bubble could see the tourism industry make a swift recovery, according to Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters. "I believe tourism will turn around dramatically faster than people think," Mr Peters told reporters after Thursday's Budget. "Why? Because I think the Tasman bubble is [going ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Rt. Hon Winston Peters: Budget Speech
    Rt Hon Winston Peters, Leader of New Zealand First   Please check against delivery https://vimeo.com/418303651 Budget 2020: Jobs, Business and Balance   Introduction Acknowledgements to all Cabinet colleagues, and party ministers Tracey Martin, Shane Jones and Ron Mark, Under-Secretary Fletcher Tabuteau and to caucus colleagues. Thank you for your support, your ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Jacinda Ardern’s 2020 Budget Speech
    Read Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's Budget 2020 Speech. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Budget 2020: Next steps to end family and sexual violence
    The 2020 Budget includes significant support to stabilise New Zealand’s family violence services, whose work has been shown to be so essential throughout the COVID-19 lockdown. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Investment in housing gives more people access to the home they deserve
    The Green Party says huge new investment in public and transitional housing will get thousands more families into the warm, safe homes they deserve.  ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Budget 2020: Huge investment in green nature based jobs jump starts sustainable COVID recovery
    The Green Party says the $1.1 billion environmental investment in this year’s budget to create thousands of green jobs will help jump start a sustainable recovery from the COVID crisis. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Grant Robertson’s 2020 Budget Speech
    Read Minister of Finance Grant Robertson's Budget 2020 Speech. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Winston Peters tells struggling migrant workers ‘you should probably go home’
    Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters said today the Coalition Government told foreigners at the start of the Covid-19 crisis that if their circumstances had changed dramatically, they should go home. "And 50,000 did," Mr Peters said. Official advice to Cabinet revealed there is potentially 380,000 foreigners and migrant workers in ...
    2 weeks ago
  • New Zealand First welcomes today’s Alert Level 2 announcement
    Rt Hon Winston Peters, Leader of New Zealand First New Zealand First welcomes the decision today to go to Alert Level 2 from midnight Wednesday, says Leader Rt Hon Winston Peters. Alert Level 2 will mean a return to work for the vast majority of New Zealand’s businesses. A return ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Nurses to be protected after amendment to First Responders Bill
    Nurses now look set to get more protection from violence at work, under a proposed new law. This after NZ First MP Darroch Ball's "Protection for First Responders Bill", which introduces a six-month minimum sentence for assaults on first responders, will now also cover emergency department healthcare workers. The ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Nurses to get more protection, added to ‘First Responders’ legislation
    Darroch Ball MP, New Zealand First Law and Order Spokesperson An amendment to the ‘Protection of First Responders Bill’ is being tabled which will see emergency department healthcare workers included in the legislation. “During this COVID-19 crisis we have seen reports of violence and specifically increased incidents of spitting towards ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Shane Jones: Northland port could be economic haven
    Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones is breathing new life into the proposal to move Auckland's port to Whangārei to help in the economic recovery post Covid-19 pandemic. If New Zealand First was returned in the September general election, Minister Jones said a priority would be development of an "economic haven" at Northport, ...
    2 weeks ago
  • PGF grant for Ventnor memorial
    The plan to build a memorial to the SS Ventnor, and those who were lost when it sank off the Hokianga coast in 1902, has been granted $100,000 from the Provincial Growth Fund. Originally planned for a site near Rāwene cemetery, the memorial will now be built at the new Manea ...
    3 weeks ago
  • 75th anniversary of V.E Day
    Rt Hon Winston Peters, New Zealand First Leader Leader of New Zealand First, Rt Hon Winston Peters said: “Today is the 75th anniversary of VE Day – marking the end of World War II in Europe." Millions died in the six years of war, and families were torn apart. 75 years ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Week That Was: Getting the job done
    From the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, our Government has committed to providing calm, clear, and consistent communication, including regular press conference updates from the Prime Minister. While New Zealand is at Alert Level 3, we're making sure that New Zealanders are kept informed and up-to-date with all the latest ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Winston Peters responds to Simon Bridges’ ‘my sweetheart’ comment
    New Zealand First leader Winston Peters spoke to The Country's Jamie Mackay. A day earlier, National Party leader Simon Bridges was on the radio show and referred to the Deputy Prime Minister as, "my sweetheart Winston". Mr Peters swiftly dismissed the question of whether Bridges had changed his mind about ...
    3 weeks ago

  • New Zealand and Singapore reaffirm ties
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong have marked the first anniversary of the New Zealand-Singapore Enhanced Partnership with a virtual Leaders’ Meeting today. The Enhanced Partnership, signed on 17 May 2019, provides the framework for cooperation across the four main areas of trade, defence and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    31 mins ago
    On 17 May 2019, New Zealand and Singapore established an Enhanced Partnership to elevate our relations. The Enhanced Partnership – based on the four pillars of trade and economics, security and defence, science, technology and innovation, and people-to-people links – has seen the long-standing relationship between our countries strengthen over the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    44 mins ago
  • Government investment supports the acquisition of new Interislander ferries
    State-Owned Enterprises Minister Winston Peters has welcomed KiwiRail’s announcement that it is seeking a preferred shipyard to build two new rail-enabled ferries for the Cook Strait crossing. “This Government is committed to restoring rail to its rightful place in New Zealand. Bigger, better ships, with new technology are yet another ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 hours ago
  • Better protection for seabirds
    Better protection for seabirds is being put in place with a new National Plan of Action to reduce fishing-related captures, Fisheries Minister Stuart Nash and Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage announced today.   The National Plan of Action for Seabirds 2020 outlines our commitment to reduce fishing-related captures and associated seabird ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 hours ago
  • Milestone in cash flow support to SMEs
    Almost $1 billion in interest-free loans for small businesses More than 55,000 businesses have applied; 95% approved Average loan approx. $17,300 90% of applications from firms with ten or fewer staff A wide cross-section of businesses have applied, the most common are the construction industry, accommodation providers, professional firms, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    11 hours ago
  • Government protects kids as smoking in cars ban becomes law
    Thousands of children will have healthier lungs after the Government’s ban on smoking in cars with kids becomes law, says Associate Minister of Health Jenny Salesa. This comes after the third reading of Smoke-free Environments (Prohibiting Smoking in Motor Vehicles Carrying Children) Amendment Bill earlier today. “This law makes it ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    20 hours ago
  • Parliament returns to a safe normal
    The special Epidemic Response Committee (ERC) has successfully concluded its role, Leader of the House Chris Hipkins said today. The committee was set up on 25 March by the agreement of Parliament to scrutinise the Government and its actions while keeping people safe during levels 4 and 3 of lockdown. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    21 hours ago
  • Foreign Minister makes four diplomatic appointments
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters today announced four diplomatic appointments: New Zealand’s Ambassador to Belgium, High Commissioners to Nauru and Niue, and Ambassador for Counter-Terrorism. “As the world seeks to manage and then recover from COVID-19, our diplomatic and trade networks are more important than ever,” Mr Peters said. “The ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • New Bill to counter violent extremism online
    New Zealanders will be better protected from online harm through a Bill introduced to Parliament today, says Internal Affairs Minister Tracey Martin. “The internet brings many benefits to society but can also be used as a weapon to spread harmful and illegal content and that is what this legislation targets,” ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Mycoplasma bovis eradication reaches two year milestone in good shape
    New Zealand’s world-first plan to eradicate the cattle disease Mycoplasma bovis is on track the latest technical data shows, says Agriculture and Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor. “Two years ago the Government, DairyNZ and Beef + Lamb New Zealand and industry partners made a bold decision to go hard and commit ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • New payment to support Kiwis through COVID
    Further support for New Zealanders affected by 1-in-100 year global economic shock 12-week payment will support people searching for new work or retraining Work programme on employment insurance to support workers and businesses The Government today announced a new temporary payment to support New Zealanders who lose their jobs due ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • PGF reset helps regional economies
    The Provincial Growth Fund will play a vital role in New Zealand’s post-COVID-19 recovery by creating jobs in shorter timeframes through at least $600 million being refocused on projects with more immediate economic benefits, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones has announced. The funding is comprised of repurposed Provincial Growth ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Government exempts some home improvements from costly consents
    Government exempts some home improvements from costly consents Homeowners, builders and DIYers will soon have an easier time making basic home improvements as the Government scraps the need for consents for low-risk building work such as sleep-outs, sheds and carports – allowing the construction sector to fire back up quicker ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Concern at introduction of national security legislation for Hong Kong
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters says the New Zealand Government has reacted with concern at the introduction of legislation in China’s National People’s Congress relating to national security in Hong Kong.  “We have a strong interest in seeing confidence maintained in the ‘one country, two systems’ principle under which Hong ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Samoa Language Week theme is perfect for the post-COVID-19 journey
    The Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio, says the theme for the 2020 Samoa Language Week is a perfect fit for helping our Pacific communities cope with the unfolding COVID-19 crisis, and to prepare now for the journey ahead as New Zealand focuses on recovery plans and rebuilding New ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Adult kakī/black stilt numbers soar
    A nearly 40-year programme to protect one of New Zealand’s most critically endangered birds is paying off, with a record number of adult kakī/black stilt recently recorded living in the wild, the Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage announced today. “Thanks to the team effort involved in the Department of Conservation’s ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Waikato-Tainui settlement story launched on 25th anniversary of Treaty signing
    The story of the Waikato-Tainui Treaty process and its enduring impact on the community is being told with a five-part web story launched today on the 25th anniversary of settlement, announced Associate Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Carmel Sepuloni. “I am grateful to Waikato-Tainui for allowing us to help capture ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Taita College to benefit from $32 million school redevelopment
    Taita College in the Hutt Valley will be redeveloped to upgrade its ageing classrooms and leaky roofs, Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced today. “The work is long overdue and will make a lasting difference to the school for generations to come,” Chris Hipkins said. “Too many of our schools are ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Redeployment for workers in hard-hit regions
    The Government is allocating $36.72 million to projects in regions hard hit economically by COVID-19 to keep people working, Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford and Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced today. Projects in Hawke’s Bay, Northland, Rotorua and Queenstown will be funded from the Government’s $100 million worker ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • $35m to build financial resilience for New Zealanders
    A $35m boost to financial capability service providers funded by MSD will help New Zealanders manage their money better both day to day and through periods of financial difficulty, announced Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni. “It’s always been our position to increase support to key groups experiencing or at risk ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • New District Court Judge appointed
    Dunedin barrister Melinda Broek has been appointed as a District Court Judge with Family Court jurisdiction to be based in Rotorua, Attorney-General David Parker announced today. Ms Broek has iwi affiliations to Ngai Tai. She commenced her employment in 1996 with Scholefield Cockroft Lloyd in Invercargill specialising in family and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • $206 million investment in upgrades at Ohakea Air Force Base
    The Coalition Government has approved a business case for $206 million in upgrades to critical infrastructure at Royal New Zealand Air Force Base Ohakea, with the first phase starting later this year, Defence Minister Ron Mark announced today. The investment will be made in three phases over five years, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Review of CAA organisational culture released
    Transport Minister Phil Twyford today released the Ministry of Transport’s review of the organisational culture at the Civil Aviation Authority. Phil Twyford says all employees are entitled to a safe work environment. “I commissioned this independent review due to the concerns I had about the culture within the CAA, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • New Board appointed at Stats NZ
    Ensuring that Stats NZ’s direction and strategy best supports government policy decisions will be a key focus for a new Governance Advisory Board announced today by the Minister for Statistics, James Shaw. The new Governance Advisory Board will provide strategic advice to Stats NZ to ensure it is meeting New ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • New Principal Environment Judge
    Environment Judge David Kirkpatrick of Auckland has been appointed as the Principal Environment Judge, Attorney-General David Parker announced today.  Judge Kirkpatrick was appointed an Environment Judge in February 2014. From December 2013 to July 2016 he was Chair of the Auckland Unitary Plan Independent Hearings Panel. Prior to appointment he ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Digital connectivity boost for urban marae
    A programme to connect marae around the country to the internet has received $1.4 million to expand to include urban marae in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media Minister Kris Faafoi and Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced today. The funding for the Marae Connectivity Programme ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Govt increases assistance to drought-stricken Hawke’s Bay farmers
    The Government will provide $500,000 to the Hawke’s Bay Mayoral Drought Relief Fund to help farmers facing one of the worst droughts in living memory, says Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor. “Yesterday afternoon I received a letter from Hawke's Bay's five local Government leaders asking me to contribute to the Fund. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Investment in New Zealand’s history
    Budget 2020 provides a major investment in New Zealand’s documentary heritage sector, with a commitment to leasing a new Archives Wellington facility and an increase in funding for Archives and National Library work. “Last year I released plans for a new Archives Wellington building – a purpose-built facility physically connected ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Driving prompt payments to small businesses
    Government Ministers are asking significant private enterprises to adopt prompt payment practices in line with the state sector, as a way to improve cashflow for small businesses. The Ministers of Finance, Small Business, Commerce and Consumer Affairs have written to more than 40 significant enterprises and banking industry representatives to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Rotorua tourist icon to be safeguarded
    Maori Arts and Crafts will continue to underpin the heart of the tourism sector says Minister for Maori Development Nanaia Mahuta.  “That’s why we are making a core investment of $7.6 million to Te Puia New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute, over two years, as part of the Government’s ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • $14.7m for jobs training and education
    The Government is funding more pathways to jobs through training and education programmes in regional New Zealand to support the provinces’ recovery from the economic impacts of COVID-19, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones and Employment Minister Willie Jackson have announced. “New Zealand’s economic recovery will be largely driven by ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Is it time to further recognise those who serve in our military?
     Minister for Veterans Ron Mark has announced the launch of a national conversation that aims to find out whether New Zealanders think there should be a formal agreement between service people, the Government, and the people of New Zealand. “This year marks the 75th anniversary of the end of World ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Paving the way for a fully qualified early learning workforce
    The Government’s drive to improve the quality of early childhood education (ECE) is taking another step forward with the reintroduction of a higher funding rate for services that employ fully qualified and registered teachers, Education Minister Chris Hipkins has announced. “Research shows that high-quality ECE can improve young people’s learning ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Sport Recovery Package announced
    The Sport and Recreation sector will receive a multi-million dollar boost as part of the COVID-19 response funded at Budget 2020.  Grant Robertson says the Sport and Recreation Sector contributes about $5 billion a year to New Zealand’s GDP and employs more than 53,000 people. “Sport plays a significant role ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Major boost in support for caregivers and children
    A major increase in funding and availability of support will improve the incomes and reduce the pressure on 14,000 caregivers looking after more than 22,000 children. Children’s Minister Tracey Martin says that caregivers – all those looking after someone else’s children both in and outside the state care system – ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Great Walks recovery on track for summer
    Vital conservation and visitor infrastructure destroyed by a severe flood event in Fiordland earlier this year is being rebuilt through a $13.7 million Budget 2020 investment, announced Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage.   “This investment will mean iconic Great Walks such as the Routeburn track and the full length of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Māori – Government partnership gives whānau a new housing deal
    The Government is investing  $40 million in a partnership with Māori to get more whānau into warm, dry and secure accommodation, Associate Minister for Housing (Māori Housing) Hon Nanaia Mahuta says.. “We are partnering with Māori and iwi to respond to the growing housing crisis in the wake of COVID-19. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Keeping New Zealanders Safe In The Water
    Keeping New Zealanders safe in the water Our lifeguards and coastguards who keep New Zealanders safe in the water have been given a funding boost thanks to the 2020 Budget, Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector Poto Williams has announced. The water safety sector will receive $63 million over ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Legal framework for COVID-19 Alert Level referred to select committee
    The COVID-19 Public Health Response Act 2020, which set a sound legal framework ahead of the move to Alert level 2, has been referred to a parliamentary select committee for review.  Attorney-General David Parker said the review of the operation of the COVID-19 specific law would be reported back to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New Zealand condemns shocking attacks on hospital and funeral in Afghanistan
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters says New Zealand condemns the targeting of civilians in two terrorist attacks in Afghanistan earlier this week. “The terrorist attacks on a hospital in Kabul and a funeral in Nangarhar province are deeply shocking. The attacks were deliberate and heinous acts of extreme violence targeting ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago