Suicide, Mike King, and mental health services

Written By: - Date published: 7:59 am, May 19th, 2017 - 38 comments
Categories: health, labour, national, quality of life - Tags: , , , , , ,

Here are some recent headlines on suicide in NZ:
NZ suicide stats highest ever recorded
The highest rate of teen suicide in the developed world
The Horror of NZ’s Suicide Rates
NZ suicide toll: More discussion needed to bring down ‘unacceptably high’ rate, Chief Coroner says
Suicide rate among young Kiwi men double that of young Australian men in recent years
and chillingly:
Number of suicides may be three times as high as recorded

It is in this context that this week’s news regarding Mike King is so important (Olivia Carville in The Herald):

Comedian Mike King quits: Govt’s suicide plan ‘deeply flawed’

The comedian and television presenter stepped down from his post on New Zealand’s suicide-prevention panel today, claiming the Government’s recently released draft plan to prevent suicide is “deeply flawed” and self-serving.

The panel was established to help shape a strategy to reduce suicide over the next 10 years. Its Draft Suicide Prevention Plan was released to the public last month.

But key measures – including a 20 per cent reduction in suicides over 10 years – have been removed from the plan.

Health Minister Dr Jonathan Coleman did not answer a question from the Herald about why the target had been removed.

Speaking to NZ Herald Focus King said a percentage target was important to give people a clear direction to work towards, and that 20 per cent was “absolutely realistic”.

He went further, saying New Zealand should aim for a suicide rate of zero.

King plans to keep working in the field of suicide prevention, he told Focus. “I haven’t quit doing what I’m doing – I’m just not going to waste any more time on a failed plan that has failed for the last 10 years and will not have my name associated with this current plan which is more of the same.” …

Other coverage:
Suicide prevention plan ‘deeply flawed’ – Mike King
‘Actually implement things that are going to help’ – Mike King steps down from suicide prevention panel over ‘deeply flawed’ government plan
Real suicides figure is double what’s reported – Mike King
Suicide prevention plan a ‘meaningless statement’ (Mental Health Foundation)
Editorial: Mike King right to seek clarity in vital battle to curb suicides

The flawed suicide plan is symptomatic of National’s failed approach to mental health as a whole.   The warning bells have been sounding on mental health for a long time now. National have been slashing funding and services:
Auckland’s crumbling mental health services
Chch mental health funding slashed despite overwhelming demand
Chch mental health cuts ‘put lives at risk’
Mental health services facing cutbacks (ODT)
Cuts to mental health acute care ill-advised say psychiatrists
Coleman’s cuts create crisis
The stark reality: New Zealand no longer has a functioning Mental Health Service

The recent People’s Mental Health Review report (pdf) put the issue firmly in the spotlight:

Damning report joins calls for inquiry into country’s stretched mental health services

Pressure is building for the Government to launch an independent inquiry into the mental health sector in the wake of a damning new report.

The People’s Mental Health Review report, released today, canvassed 500 people who have either accessed or worked within mental health services in New Zealand.

Almost 95 per cent of those surveyed had negative experiences of the sector and shared stories of inappropriately long wait times, an over-reliance on medication and an under-resourced, stressed workforce.

“In a number of stories people expressed concern that they couldn’t get the help they needed until their health had deteriorated to the point of crisis,” said ActionStation, the community campaign group behind the survey.

The report recommended urgent funding increases, rolling out mental health education programmes across the country and the reinstatement of the Mental Health Commissioner, to provide independent oversight of the sector.

It also added to recent calls for a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the provision of mental health services – a request made by both the Parents of Children with Additional Needs Collective and the Aotearoa Students’ Alliance just last week. …

National’s response was to call the report the work of ‘Left-wing, anti-Government protesters’, a response which is both pathetic and disgusting.

Labour’s response was pretty blunt:

Labour leader Andrew Little said Kiwis had “huge concern” about publicly-funded mental health services. The number of service users had increased by 60 per cent since the 2007/08 year, he said.

“The report says patients have told ‘a story of frustration at being unable to access mental health services.’ This is a tragic indictment of the Government’s underfunding with many submitters talking of despair and hopelessness. …

See also Labour questions mental health support as open letter presented to Parliament. Since then Labour has released new mental health policy:

Under Labour’s fresh approach to mental health services, we will establish a two-year pilot programme of primary mental health teams at eight sites across the country to work with GPs, PHOs, DHBs, and mental health NGOs. These sites will be selected to meet high needs populations, including Christchurch, which has seen a surge in mental health needs. The programme is expected to help nearly 40,000 people get the assistance they need for each year of the pilot. This will be an investment of $43m over two years, funded through Labour’s commitment to reversing National’s $1.7b of health cuts.

Mental health teams will be based on site with primary care providers, such as GPs, to offer free, accessible help for people with mental health issues before and after crises. Early intervention and continuing care will help people avoid significant mental health distress and assist them to live their lives fully.

Each mental health team will comprise mental health service co-ordinators, who will be doctors or other medical professionals. It will be their job to help people navigate the system and integrate the care from GPs, PHOs, NGOs, and DHBs, creating a sustained programme of care for each individual. This will mean patients will deal with the same health professionals throughout.

The programme will provide funding for:

  • Increased capacity for GPs to conduct interventions and make appropriate referrals
  • Mental health service co-ordinators to be based with primary care providers
  • NGOs to provide social assistance such as help getting a job or finding somewhere to live
  • Increased access to counselling
  • Coordinators to facilitate shared care between GPs and DHBs

A full review of the pilot will be taken after two years with a view to rolling out the programme nationwide over time.

Further coverage:
Labour wants mental health teams within GP practices, free appointments for mental health issues
Labour would spend $43m on mental health teams
Mental health consults at the GP free under Labour, Andrew Little announces
Labour promises new mental health programme to create ‘front door’ to services

So on the issues of suicide and mental health, the choice is pretty clear. Bungling and abuse from National, a positive plan for action from Labour.



Here’s a list of helpline numbers from RNZ:

  • Lifeline: 0800 543 354
  • Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 / 0508 TAUTOKO (24/7). This is a service for people who may be thinking about suicide, or those who are concerned about family or friends.
  • Depression Helpline: 0800 111 757 (24/7)
  • Sparx online e-therapy tool for young people
  • Samaritans: 0800 726 666 (24/7)
  • Youthline: 0800 376 633 (24/7) or free text 234 (8am-12am), or email talk@youthline.co.nz
  • What’s Up: online chat (7pm-10pm) or 0800 WHATSUP / 0800 9428 787 children’s helpline (1pm-10pm weekdays, 3pm-10pm weekends)
  • Kidsline (ages 5-18): 0800 543 754 (24/7)
  • Rural Support Trust Helpline: 0800 787 254
  • Healthline: 0800 611 116
  • Rainbow Youth: (09) 376 4155
  • OUTline 0800 688 5463 (OUTLINE) provides confidential telephone support on sexuality or gender identity

38 comments on “Suicide, Mike King, and mental health services”

  1. Draco T Bastard 1

    What needs to be looked at is government policies effects upon the suicide rate. Especially policies that punish people for being poor, the beneficiary bashing that this government has engaged in since forever.

    We all know that these policies have some effect but we need to know what effect and then undo them.

    • Cinny 1.1

      Strongly agree with you Draco.

      Why are people so soul destroyed that they are killing themselves?

      There will be many reasons, but the one thing they probably all have in common, is they are sick of suffering, they are feeling so hurt and so desperate that the only way they can find to take away their suffering is suicide.

      We can all do something every day, it’s called being kind, acknowledging others and showing respect to EVERYONE, no matter how they look or what they do. Help others to feel valued and important.

      Such behaviour should be demonstrated by our government, and clearly it is not. And the greedy money prioritising Tory fools can’t even seem to comprehend that a happy population would drive the economy through the roof.

      The government could do so much more, and it needs to be action in many different areas. But they choose not to, the National Party chooses not to.

      This year I’m voting for change, I’m choosing to do something about it.

      • greywarshark 1.1.1

        I think in Freudian thinking about our minds, love and money, food and physical comforts are all connected. And it seems in ‘Affluenza’ terms, that the love-money thing can get out of balance, in that the more excess money one gets, the less love there is in the soul for others outsides one’s own intimate relationships.

        We need to understand human thinking, and take an overview of humankind, and reflect in an inner view of how we think of others and ourselves. We need to love our own souls, something that isn’t talked or thought about much. But our minds are affected by our needy thoughts, perhaps we need to be the ‘best we can be’, being instilled by parents, school, sports.

        But put it another way that is easier on the inner psyche, and think ‘do everything as well as you can’, but look for your interest, your potential and find a way to excel at that. Much more positive. And the result, less need to grasp and hold onto money as the main boost to your psyche.

        If we had a point when you said ‘enough is enough’ and could relax, then you would be able to share more without anxiety of being bereft in the world, or needing it to add to your standing, perhaps (mentally) the only thing going for you.

        But universities are having their Humanities funding cut. So where will the study of human behaviour and its understanding go then? Better that we all be turned into psychologically programmed pigeons pecking at the money source and finally tearing our feathers out. That is the government’s program for us. And even if they deny this, having no policy about something, actually constitutes a policy of neglect of that something.

        Put a little sweetness in your day with Nat King Cole and Nature Boy. (A great piece of performance.) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iq0XJCJ1Srw
        ‘The greatest thing you’ll ever learn, is just to love and be loved in return.’

        and interesting to compare others – beautiful, many passed.
        Swedish The Real Group (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jDsjZXrYIZk
        More arcapella jazz from Afro Blue 7.41m
        (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CzX0-05KHG4
        David Bowie (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m_YtyyfUF8g
        Michael Jackson (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gEI5VXyS0qw
        Cher (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wvwL7NNct3g
        Ella Fitzgerald (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WBfuoMpabHY

        • Cinny 1.1.1.1

          Oh snap, I’ve been watching a BBC doco series about Freuds nephew Edward Bernays who invented the public relations profession, it’s disturbingly fascinating.

          Made back in 2002 but still so relevant today. The Century of the Self

          “This series is about how those in power have used Freud’s theories to try and control the dangerous crowd in an age of mass democracy.”

          It’s about controlling people via their emotions. Am so understanding where you are coming from GWS.

          Cheers for links to sweet beats. Here’s one for you.

          • greywarshark 1.1.1.1.1

            Thanks Cinny and One Two
            Good to know that it struck a heart string and beat when one writes.

            And Cinny I must watch that thing on Bernays as I’ve only heard bits. I heard that he turned round the strong social disdain for women smoking by organising a set of beautiful women celebrating being emancipated by smoking, and turned around a societal ban in no time. How can that be applied to getting young people voting???

            If you can’t beat ’em join ’em.

          • greywarshark 1.1.1.1.2

            Cinny and perhaps One Two
            There was an interesting woman interviewed by Kim Hill this morning who has something to say on lots of bases about women, humanity, travel, personal journeys etc.

            http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/saturday/audio/201844552/ariel-levy-the-rules-do-not-apply
            author interview
            10:05 am today
            Ariel Levy – The rules do not apply
            From Saturday Morning, 10:05 am today
            Listen duration 21′ :30″
            Ariel Levy is a journalist and writer based in New York. She joined The New Yorker as a staff writer in 2008, tackling topics such as the world’s reaction to intersex South African runner Caster Semenya, and Edith Windsor, the plaintiff in the Supreme Court case that brought down the Defense of Marriage Act. Levy won a National Magazine Award in 2013 for the essay “Thanksgiving in Mongolia”, where she details a miscarriage in a hotel room while on assignment in Ulaanbaatar.

            The loss caused Levy to examine the unravelling of her life, a process that led her to author the New York Times best-seller The Rules Do Not Apply (2017). Her first book was Female Chauvinist Pigs (2006), which looked at the rise of ‘raunch’ culture.
            ………………………………………………………………………………..

            http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/saturday/audio/201844547/tommy-rhattigan-bread-jam-and-terror
            A great interview with a street wise kid who narrowly missed being one of the Moors Murders victims and has got himself through it and has found himself enough to be strong, and talk about it and warm and understanding.
            Tommy Rhattigan. The value of counselling is a theme, and also the iniquitous practice of splitting up children from homes that had difficulties.
            I’ve encountered this before. A mechanical process by a pathetically uninformed and uncaring system.

            author interview crime
            8:12 am today
            Tommy Rhattigan – Bread, jam and terror
            From Saturday Morning, 8:12 am today
            Listen duration 37′ :22″
            Tommy Rhattigan was a seven-year-old Manchester boy when he was lured to the house of Myra Hindley and Ian Brady with a promise of bread and jam. Born the eighth of 13 children, he’d been sent out by alcoholic parents to beg on the streets of Hulme, a rundown suburb of Manchester, when he was targeted by the pair – later to be known as the Moors Murderers. He escaped out a window at some point in the encounter – an action he believes saved him from becoming the sixth murder victim.

            Rhattigan, who’s now based in Kent, kept his story secret until 2013, and published a book on that encounter and his life, 1963: A slice of bread and jam earlier this year.

            Ian Brady died this week at the age of 79 at a high-security hospital on Merseyside in North West England after battling a lung and chest condition. Myra Hindley died in prison in 2002.

        • One Two 1.1.1.2

          Being astute requires time to stop and feel in touch with ones own emotions…then be mindful to connect to all living beings around us…

          Frameworks have been constructed to ensure that very few have the peace of mind to think and feel a connectedness to other living beings..

          Our species is under a very old, and very organised set of abusive frameworks

          Your comments are deeply appreciated, greywarshark

  2. gsays 2

    What surprised me was the estimate of another 500 people a year suicide, but it is not recorded as such.

    Close to 1 a week, not reported.

    • Draco T Bastard 2.1

      That would be an extra ten per week unreported as suicide.

    • Incognito 2.2

      500 unreported cases is more than 10 a week or more than one a day.

      Think about it for a moment: today it is highly likely that 2 Kiwis will commit suicide. And tomorrow another 2, etc.

      And then think about the suffering surrounding these individuals, before and after, and the many more that suffer in silence without adequate accessible help; it is truly gobsmacking …

      • gsays 2.2.1

        Apparently you are a lefty for being concerned.

        • Cinny 2.2.1.1

          Nah G, you are a caring human to be concerned. And this year your vote will reflect your real concern on this issue among others.

  3. Cinny 3

    Kudos Mike Smith for telling NZ how it really is this week. Proud of you Sir.

  4. mauī 4

    Culturally I think we’re in denial about suicide. For instance you never read news reports of someone dying and the cause of death being linked to suicide, barring some famous people. I think media actively suppress reporting on suicides too because there’s so much stigma around it. In contrast we hear about every road death, intersting eh? There’s various reasons I guess, the possibility of shaming and the fact its a taboo topic.

    Edit: Labours policy of mental health teams working with GPs sounds really encouraging too, good stuff.

    • Draco T Bastard 4.1

      For instance you never read news reports of someone dying and the cause of death being linked to suicide, barring some famous people.

      That’s because it’s illegal to do so.

  5. I work in suicide prevention – at the coalface and this is a very big issue facing the country. Yes another 500 suicides a year to add because they are not classified as suicide – that will make it 1100 or so a year plus the others – driving off road, into traffic, and so on.

    Very complex talking to someone who thinks ending life is an answer to the problem – often as Mike King says they just want their (emotional usually) pain to stop, go away, not be there.

    I hope labours plan works and they get the chance to enact it because a lot is not working now. Kia kaha Mike King – no target? no plan – no plan? what the fuck are we wasting money on you talking heads then eh?

    • r0b 5.1

      Thank you for the work that you do. I can’t imagine it.

    • gsays 5.2

      Hi Marty, well done from me too.

      There are ways we can help/volunteer.
      Putting up our hand and helping youthline, helping coach sport or simply listening when someone speaks.
      Truly listening.

      • David Mac 5.2.1

        Yup, feeling wanted and needed is a fundamental life force in a social animal like us. When it’s not there, the road to not being here is short.

    • One Two 5.3

      Too all those who are formerly or informally involved in the supporting of our brothers and sisters..

      We are all equally responsible for the well being of others…

      Once that understanding completely envelopes our planet…peace and joy will truly exist

    • joe90 5.4

      I work in suicide prevention

      respect, marty

  6. riffer 6

    We only really seem to pay suicide any attention when it happens to someone we love, or when it’s somebody famous, like the reports of Chris Cornell’s death yesterday.

    The rest of the time it’s like some dirty little secret that no-one wants to talk about. And it’s the ultimate expression of how our society is failing its members.

    I don’t know the answer, but I sure as hell don’t think the cult of the individual is the right direction to be constantly looking.

    Sigh…

    • Draco T Bastard 6.1

      The cult of the individual seems to be a cause of a lot of the suffering that we’re seeing.

    • gsays 6.2

      Hi Marty, well done from me too.

      There are ways we can help/volunteer.
      Putting up our hand and helping youthline, helping coach sport or simply listening when someone speaks.
      Truly listening.

  7. Mrs Brillo 7

    In my experience of working with the teams that produce such reports – over a number of years and government departments – the reports are focussed and targeted up till the point where they go to a) a senior departmental official, or more likely, b) the minister’s office in draft.
    At this point they tend to be returned with sections crossed out, usually sections involving specific numbers and goals and deadlines, or contentious recommendations. “Approved” for publishing in their amended form.
    Not saying this happened here, not saying it didn’t…. but it happened more often than I was comfortable with. Seemed to be the regular modus operandi.

    • McFlock 7.1

      Yes, I’ve encountered similar things as well.

      The officials work within the constraints of what their political masters are willing to consider – which is how things should be, but it’s a bugger when the political master finds reality to be inconvenient.

      • One Two 7.1.1

        Those who do not take a stand, ensure the decline..

        Working within political masters constraints…how it should be…

        No, that is not how it should be

        • McFlock 7.1.1.1

          this ain’t the thread for your vacuities dipshit.

          • One Two 7.1.1.1.1

            It is a very serious thread. One of the most serious subjects possible which can be discussed. As such it deserves the tabling of thoughts and ideas which bring out deeper thinking on the subject, and the questioning of those thoughts and ideas, which ‘might’ miss a mark

            That is why I responded to your comment, which I believe is an incorrect perspective

            I should have elaborated as to why I thought it was incorrect, and for that I take some responsibility

            So I will say it again…

            Those who do not stand up against poor politics, policy and bullying, abusive behaviour, to continue their own ‘well being’, are in large part responsible. .

            Because they can take a direct stand, where others outside are mostly relegated to petitioning, and being part of the abuse…

            ‘I’m just going my job’….

            The time is past for that attitude, and its going to cost even more lives, dead and broken circles of humans, flora and fauna!

            To those who have ‘stood up’ to their own detriment, and put themselves in harms way, or at a disadvantage. .

            The world needs more of you…very quickly

            Everyone else who deludes themselves….examine inside, you ‘all know’ what must be done to halt the death/abuse frameworks…because they’re coming for ‘everything’

            “If you tolerate this, then your children will be next”

            • McFlock 7.1.1.1.1.1

              Oh, fucking bullshit.

              Firstly, we live in a democracy. Our bureaucracy answers to the elected ministers. Otherwise it’s not a democracy.

              Secondly, every individual has to make their own call on how much they can do. Mike King made a solid decision, and good on him for it. But I’m not going to judge the support staff and bureaucrats who try to take the best possible plan they can past a minister who doesn’t give a flying fuck and doesn’t want his government to address the problem.

              Alternatively, you’ll approve of bureaucrats subverting democracy as long as you agree with them, but you haven’t realised that it will eventuate in someone doing something you disagree with and you don’t even get the opportunity to vote against them.

              But all this is a digression, and you write like someone whose biggest moral crisis was “toast or corn flakes for breakfast?” It’s very bold of you to demand that others throw down their careers in circumstances of which you obviously have no knowledge.

              • One Two

                “Digression”. …

                Of course it’s not!, but keep throwing insults and deflecting yet..again

                I “understand all’ circumstances because I have been, have seen have heard, have lived. Therefore I can imagine what the very worst case scenarious equate to even if I’ve not ‘lived that’ particular scenario. Because ‘life’

                Walking in anothers shoes through thought, prayer, meditation and imagination…every single day lucky enough to have the opportunity ‘of this life’ to do so, and learn grow and give back

                Of course there are shades and degrees…but that’s ultimately not going to stop the rampant abuse, it ultimately endorses it, and enables the propagation of it

                You don’t get it, that’s ok. These are my thoughts, my levels!

    • David Mac 7.2

      I caught Mike talking on the wireless about what got his goat and it was the issues you raise Mrs Brillo. He said he was keen to see a goal of zero suicides per year adopted. He relinquished his idealistic number and was under the impression that the tools to reduce the number by 20% would be highlighted and implemented.

      He suggested to achieve this we review and discover what programs are working and stoke the fires under them. Pretty basic stuff assumed Mike.

      I saw the document on TV, it looks like the manual for a Jumbo Jet, page after page of how great we’re going to be. HOW? Yells Mike.

      I feel a bit this way about Whanau Ora, it has contracted agencies that are kicking big goals. Shouldn’t we be looking at what’s working and give it a push along. It seems such a logical way to improve outcomes, I feel Mike’s frustration.

  8. Whispering Kate 8

    Mike King way saying that people found at the bottom of cliffs, people who had drugs or alcohol in their bodies and had left a note, or obvious car road crashes were not included in the official stats. This is a disgraceful state of mismanagement and total disregard for the serious state of the nation’s mental health. This lot in government are a callous god awful bunch of wankers.

    We have the power at the polling booth so let us hope and pray we all exercise it wisely this year and get rid of this awful shameful lot.

    • greywarshark 8.1

      Whispering Kate
      “This is an unforgiveable state of deliberate mismanagement of sensitive but vital information and statistics….” FIFY

      And I endorse: ” This lot in government are a callous god awful bunch of wankers. “

  9. JC 9

    “Doctors angry at ‘secret’ Westport deal”

    “Angry West Coast senior doctors say the Government’s plans for a public/private partnership to fund Westport’s new integrated family health centre (IFHC) will suck millions of dollars from health care.
    They vented their fury about the ‘secret’ deal today less than an hour before a public/private deal involving the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) was confirmed.”

    “The deal is being brokered by a so-called partnership group, on behalf of the Government, and the DHB has been sidelined in the whole process.”

    https://www.odt.co.nz/regions/west-coast/doctors-angry-secret-westport-deal

    “If this deal proceeds, over time it will strip millions of dollars from health care on the West Coast – yet there’s been no transparency or public consultation. It’s a secret deal being pushed through, with the DHB expected to live with the consequences.

    WTF! The Blighted Future!

    http://morganfoundation.org.nz/childrens-mental-wellbeing-income-wealth-deprivation/

    None of us are untouched by mental health we can all demand better for children

    “Mental health disorders touch all of us in some way. Many of us have personal experience or a family member or friend who has struggled with mental health issues (whether we were aware of it or not). New Zealanders from all over the political spectrum have spoken bravely of their own experiences. It is the job of any Government to ensure all New Zealand citizens are getting what they need to be well, based on what we know works. Children need the best we can give them, to ensure they have a good chance to experience a life free from the burden of low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, and self-harm. We know what works, lets insist it gets done.”

  10. greywarshark 10

    Johnny Cash
    When it comes to existentialist failure: Johnny Cash reveals the pain in this song, ‘Hurt’.
    The thoughts, memories and knowledge that must be suppressed so we can go on living positively and hopeful for good. We must let them in only in a controlled trickle or we are at risk of being swept away by depression. Love one another as I have loved you. Jesus Christ (and he doesn’t say that you have to be ‘Christian’ to do this. And those who are unloveable, be wary of and try to treat them fairly.)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SmVAWKfJ4Go

    JOHNNY CASH LYRICS
    “Hurt”
    (originally by Nine Inch Nails)
    from AZLyrics

    I hurt myself today
    To see if I still feel
    I focus on the pain
    The only thing that’s real
    The needle tears a hole
    The old familiar sting
    Try to kill it all away
    But I remember everything

    [Chorus:]
    What have I become
    My sweetest friend
    Everyone I know goes away
    In the end
    And you could have it all
    My empire of dirt
    I will let you down
    I will make you hurt

    I wear this crown of thorns
    Upon my liar’s chair
    Full of broken thoughts
    I cannot repair
    Beneath the stains of time
    The feelings disappear
    You are someone else
    I am still right here

    [Chorus:]
    What have I become
    My sweetest friend
    Everyone I know goes away
    In the end
    And you could have it all
    My empire of dirt
    I will let you down
    I will make you hurt

    If I could start again
    A million miles away
    I would keep myself
    I would find a way

    and Gonna Cut you Down

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  • Workers pay the price of Silver Fern’s Fairton closure
    The threatened closure of Silver Fern Farms’ Fairton Plant in Ashburton raises serious questions about the Government’s support of the sale of half of the company to a foreign company, when it appears this outcome may have been inevitable, says ...
    7 days ago
  • National’s answer to the housing crisis: One new affordable house per 100 new Aucklanders
    National’s fudge of a housing plan will make Auckland even more of a speculators’ paradise, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. ...
    7 days ago
  • Government can’t be trusted with private data
    The independent review of the Ministry of Social Development’s data breach in April has shown, once again, that the Ministry cannot be trusted with private client information, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni. “The investigation by former Deloitte chairman ...
    7 days ago
  • Another crisis, another half-baked National plan
    The National Party may have finally woken up to the teacher supply crisis facing our schools but their latest half-baked, rushed announcement falls well short of the mark in terms of what’s required, says Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins. ...
    7 days ago
  • Nats: Don’t bite the hand that feeds you
    Alfred Ngaro’s recent comments have exposed the Government’s ‘don’t bite the hand that feeds you’ approach, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni. ...
    1 week ago
  • Breaking news – National admits there’s a housing crisis
    National finally admits there’s a housing crisis, but today’s belated announcement is simply not a credible response to the problem it’s been in denial about for so long, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “National can’t now credibly claim ...
    1 week ago
  • Nats lay the ground for housing bust
    Goldman Sachs’ warning that New Zealand has the developed world’s most over-priced housing market, with a 40 per cent chance of a bust within two years, shows the consequences of National’s nine years of housing neglect, says Labour Housing spokesperson ...
    1 week ago
  • Well they would say that, wouldn’t they?
    Property investors’ lobby groups have been up in arms this week about Labour and Green parties’ plans to close tax loopholes and fix the housing market. That’s probably a good thing. Like an investor in any other sector, they expect ...
    GreensBy James Shaw
    1 week ago
  • Alfred Ngaro reflects National’s culture of silencing debate
    Image from Getty Images Community groups must be free to advocate for the people they serve. It’s these people who see first-hand if ideas dreamt up in Wellington actually work on the ground. It’s essential that they can speak freely ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    1 week ago
  • Bill English must reassure community organisations
    The Prime Minister must do more to reassure community organisations after Cabinet Minister Alfred Ngaro's apparent threats to their funding if they criticise government policy which has left a born-to-rule perception amongst many, says Labour Leader Andrew Little. “Alfred Ngaro ...
    1 week ago
  • Extremism and its discontents
    Another scar on global democracy appeared recently, this time in Germany.It seems that the number of soldiers on duty with extremist political leanings has become a concern to the military leadership in that country. Soldiers were found openly possessing ...
    GreensBy Kennedy Graham
    1 week ago
  • Government’s suicide approach disappoints
    Mike King’s sudden departure from the Government’s suicide prevention panel, amid claims the Government’s approach is ‘deeply flawed’, is further evidence National is failing on mental health, says Labour’s Deputy Leader Jacinda Ardern. “Mental health is reaching crisis point in ...
    1 week ago
  • National backs speculators, fails first home buyers
    National is showing its true colours and backing speculators who are driving first home buyers out of the market, says Labour Leader Andrew Little. “By defending a $150m a year hand-out to property speculators, Bill English is turning his back ...
    1 week ago
  • More oversight by Children’s Commissioner needed
    More funding and more independence is required for the Children’s Commissioner to function more effectively in the best interests of Kiwi kids in State care, says Labour’s spokesperson for children Jacinda Ardern. ...
    1 week ago
  • Labour to end tax breaks for speculators; invest in warm, healthy homes
    Labour will shut down tax breaks for speculators and use the savings to help make 600,000 homes warmer and healthier over the next ten years, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “It’s time for fresh thinking to tackle the ...
    1 week ago
  • Health of young people a priority for Labour
    Labour will ensure all young people have access to a range of health care services on-site at their local secondary school, says Labour’s deputy leader Jacinda Ardern. “Our policy will see School Based Health Services extended to all public secondary ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Ratifying the TPPA makes no sense
    The recent high-fiving between the government and agricultural exporters over ratification of the TPPA (Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement) is empty gesture politics in an election year. Ratification by New Zealand means nothing. New Zealand law changes are not implemented unless the ...
    GreensBy Barry Coates
    2 weeks ago
  • NIWA report proves National’s trickery re swimmable rivers
    National have a slacker standard for swimmable rivers than was the case prior to their recent so-called Clean Water amendment to the National Policy Statement (NPS), says Labour’s Water spokesperson David Parker. “The table 11 on page 25 of the ...
    2 weeks ago
  • MPS shows new approach needed on housing
    The Reserve Bank’s latest Monetary Policy Statement provides further evidence that only a change in government will start to fix the housing crisis, says Labour Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “It is more evident than ever that only a Labour-led government ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Fresh approach on mental health
    Labour will introduce a pilot scheme of specialist mental health teams across the country in government to ensure swifter and more effective treatment for those who need urgent help, says Labour’s Leader Andrew Little. “Mental health is in crisis. It ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Sallies back Labour’s plan for affordable homes
    The country’s most respected social agency has endorsed Labour’s KiwiBuild plan to build homes that families can afford to buy, and delivered a withering assessment of the National Government’s housing record, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Education is for everyone, not just the elite
    Proposals by the National Party to ration access to higher education will once again make it a privilege only available to the elite, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “Speaking at the Education Select Committee, Maurice Williamson let the National ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Cancer support changes far too little, certainly late
    Anne Tolley’s belated backtrack to finally allow Jobseeker clients suffering from cancer to submit only one medical certificate to prove their illness fails to adequately provide temporary support for people too sick to work, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Kids must come first in enrolment debate
    The best interests of children should be the major driver of any change to policies around initial school enrolments, not cost cutting or administrative simplicity, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.   “The introduction of school cohort entry is ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Feed the Kids
    While in Whangarei last week, I had the pleasure of meeting Buddhi Manta from the Hare Krishna movement whose cafe is making lunch for some schools in Whangarei. His group have been feeding up to 1,000 primary school kids at local ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    2 weeks ago
  • DHBs’ big budget blowout
    New Zealand’s District Health Boards are now facing a budget deficit of nearly $90 million dollars, a significant blowout on what was forecast, says Labour’s Health spokesperson David Clark.   Labour believes health funding must grow to avoid further cuts ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Govt plays catch up on drug funding
    The Government's backdown on Pharmac is welcomed because previous rhetoric around the agency being adequately funded was just nonsense, says Labour's Health spokesperson David Clark. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour to build affordable homes in Hamilton
    Labour will build 200 affordable KiwiBuild houses and state houses on unused government-owned land as the first steps in our plan to fix Hamilton’s housing crisis, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “We will build new houses to replace ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Mental Health waiting times a growing concern
    There is new evidence that the Mental Health system is under increasing strain with waiting times for young people to be seen by mental health and addiction services lengthening says Labour’s Health spokesperson David Clark.   “Following yesterday’s seat of ...
    3 weeks ago
  • More beneficiaries heading to jail, fewer to study
    The latest quarterly benefit figures show a rising number of beneficiaries have left the benefit because they have gone to prison, while fewer are going into study, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni. “According to recent figures, in the ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Analyst charts failure of National’s housing policy
    Respected analyst Rodney Dickens has published a devastating critique of National’s housing policy, and says Labour’s policies give more hope, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Mr Dickens shows since the signing of the Auckland Housing Accord in 2013 the ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Cost of Living increases hit those with least the hardest
    Beneficiaries, superannuitants and people on the lowest incomes continue to bear the brunt of higher inflation, according to the latest data from Statistics NZ, says Labour Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Since National came to office (December 2008) inflation for those ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Pike River Mine families deserve more
    The Government must be more open and honest about the Pike River Mine says Dunedin South’s  Labour MP Clare Curran.   “It’s just wrong that the Commerce Select Committee has refused a Labour Party request to re-open its investigation ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Government goalposts taken off the field
    The Government’s decision to dump the Better Public Service (BPS) Target to Reduce Reoffending by 25 per cent by 2017 shows when it comes to measuring their progress the National Government hasn’t just shifted the goalposts, but has taken the ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Last call of the kea?
    Last weekend, I attended the first ever Kea Konvention jointly organised by the Kea Conservation Trust and Federated Mountain Clubs of New Zealand. It was a power-packed weekend full of presentations by scientists, volunteers and NGOS working to raise awareness of this ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers
    3 weeks ago