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

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Teachers should elect their own professional representation
    A new Bill introduced to Parliament today would give teachers the right to elect representatives to their own professional body, says Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins. ...
    5 hours ago
  • A fair deal for working people and good employers
    Labour will implement sensible changes to employment law to prevent the small number of bad employers undercutting good employers and driving a ‘race to the bottom’ on wages and conditions, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. ...
    5 hours ago
  • The Foreign Minister, the Zone and the Convention
    Last month the relatively new foreign minister of our realm, Hon Gerry Brownlee, steered a wobbly diplomatic course on Israeli settlements, which became leveraged to a political level. In May, he described UN Security Council resolution 2334 of December ’16, ...
    GreensBy Kennedy Graham
    5 hours ago
  • Pouring Government energy into avoiding energy leadership
    Energy Minister Judith Collins yesterday released the new New Zealand Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy and it’s very disappointing. It’s unambitious, continues business as usual & won’t achieve much. It continues National’s well-worn tactic of playing tricks, rather than actually ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes
    7 hours ago
  • Māori Party’s waka up river without paddle
    The Māori Party’s waka is up the river without a paddle over its Waka Oranga mobile health unit pilot programme, says Labour’s Māori Development spokesperson Kelvin Davis. ...
    1 day ago
  • English covering for Barclay to pass legislation
    The Prime Minister has been relying on Todd Barclay’s vote to pass key legislation, explaining why English has covered up the Barclay scandal for so long and why he continues to refuse to answer questions, says Leader of the Opposition ...
    1 day ago
  • Typhoid report shows health officials under the hammer
    A chaotic picture has emerged around the response of Auckland public health officials to this year’s typhoid outbreak, says Aupito William Sio Labour’s Pacific Island Affairs spokesman.  “Our Pacific community was left exposed by the Auckland Regional Public Health Services’ ...
    2 days ago
  • Huge high country station risks going to overseas ownership
    The real estate advertisement is spot on in describing Mt White Station as an “iconic” South Island high country station. The 40,000 hectare property is adjacent to Arthur’s Pass National Park and the upper reaches of the Waimakariri River. Mt ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage
    2 days ago
  • Bill English must be upfront about his involvement in Barclay scandal
    Bill English’s explanations that he was on the periphery of the long running employment dispute involving Todd Barclay don’t stack up, says Labour Leader Andrew Little. “The Prime Minister claims to have been a bystander, but we know he was ...
    3 days ago
  • Labour will not resile from royalties
    Labour believes cleaning up our rivers so that they are clean enough to swim in is the most important freshwater issue for this election, but that it is also fair that a royalty should be charged where public water is ...
    4 days ago
  • With friends like Hone, who needs enemies?
    With less than three months until the election, Hone Harawira has delivered another blow to the Māori Party’s flagship policy of Te Ture Whenua Māori reform and the already unstable MANA-Maori Party alliance, says Ikaroa-Rāwhiti MP Meka Whaitiri. “On The ...
    4 days ago
  • Shifty Bill jumps the shark
    Bill English's claim today that it has never been established that Todd Barclay's recordings of his staff took place is bizarre and shows a complete lack of honesty and leadership, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson.  "Todd Barclay told Bill ...
    5 days ago
  • Te Ture Whenua – gone by lunchtime?
    Māori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell has to front up about yesterday’s mysterious withdrawal of Te Ture Whenua Bill from Parliament’s order paper, says Labour’s Ikaroa Rawhiti MP Meka Whaitiri.  “Has he lost his way and has decided to run ...
    6 days ago
  • Bill English ignorance of law beggars belief
    For Bill English to claim he and others in the National Party didn’t realise the law may have been broken in the Todd Barclay taping scandal is simply not credible, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “The Prime Minister ...
    6 days ago
  • Government ignored advice on Pacific people’s superannuation
    The Government ignored advice from the Ministry of Pacific Peoples that raising the Superannuation age of eligibility would have a ‘disproportionately high impact’ on Pacific people, says Labour’s Pacific Island Affairs spokesperson Aupito William Sio.   “The Ministry for Pacific ...
    6 days ago
  • Bill English misleads Parliament on Police statement
    Bill English's attempt to restore his damaged credibility over the Todd Barclay affair has backfired after his claim to have "reported" Mr Barclay's actions to Police has proven not to be true, says Labour MP for Wellington Central Grant Robertson. ...
    1 week ago
  • Keep it Public
    The Green Party strongly supports the Tertiary Education Unions call to #KeepitPublic Keep what public? Out quality tertiary education system that National is trying to open up to more private for-profit providers with a new law change. The (Tertiary Education ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes
    1 week ago
  • This ‘technical error’ is hurting big time
    Jonathan Coleman cannot resort to his ongoing litany that the Ministry of Health’s $38 million budget blunder is an error on paper only, says Labour’s Health spokesperson David Clark. “He might keep saying it’s a ‘technical error’ but the reality ...
    1 week ago
  • Labour to invest in public transport for Greater Christchurch
    Labour will commit $100m in capital investment for public transport in Greater Christchurch, including commuter rail from Rolleston to the CBD, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “As the rebuild progresses, there are huge opportunities for Greater Christchurch, but ...
    1 week ago
  • Green Party will repeal solar tax
    It’s ridiculous for an electricity distribution monopoly to apply a charge on solar panels but worse than that, it’s harming our effort to tackle climate change. Hawke’s Bay lines company Unison last year announced a new solar charge for their ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes
    1 week ago
  • English fails the character test over Barclay
    Bill English is hoping this scandal will go away, but he is still dodging important questions over his role in covering up for Todd Barclay, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. ...
    1 week ago
  • Government must apologise for Christchurch schools stuff-up
    The Ombudsman’s findings that the Ministry of Education botched the reorganisation of Christchurch schools after the 2011 earthquake are damning for an under-fire National Government, says Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins. “The Ombudsman has found the reorganisation of schools in ...
    1 week ago
  • Government’s multinational tax measures weak
    The Government’s proposals to crack down on multinational tax avoidance, by its own admission only recovering one third of the missing money, means hardworking Kiwis will bear more of the tax burden, says Labour’s Revenue spokesperson Michael Wood. “The Government ...
    1 week ago
  • World Refugee Day – we can do our bit
    I’m really proud that yesterday, on World Refugee Day, the Greens launched an ambitious plan to increase the refugee quota to 5000 over the next six years. Of those places, 4,000 will be directly resettled by the government and another ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    1 week ago
  • PM’s leadership in question over Barclay affair
    The Prime Minister must belatedly show some leadership and compel Todd Barclay to front up to the Police, says Labour Leader Andrew Little. “Twice today Bill English has been found wanting in this matter. ...
    1 week ago
  • Another memory lapse by Coleman?
    The Minister of Health ‘couldn’t recall’ whether the Director General of Health Chai Chuah offered his resignation over the Budget funding fiasco involving the country’s District Health Boards, says Labour’s Health spokesperson David Clark. “In the House today Jonathan Coleman ...
    1 week ago
  • Bill English needs to come clean over Barclay
    Bill English needs to explain why he failed to be upfront with the public over the actions of Clutha-Southland MP Todd Barclay, following revelations that he knew about the secretly recorded conversations in the MP’s electorate office, says Labour Leader ...
    1 week ago
  • Minister, show some backbone and front up and debate
    Rather than accusing critics of his Te Ture Whenua Māori Bill of telling ‘lies’, Māori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell should show some backbone and front up to a debate on the issue, says Ikaroa-Rāwhiti MP Meka Whaitiri. “Te ...
    1 week ago
  • Equal pay for mental health workers
    Today, mental health workers are filing an equal pay claim through their unions. Mental health support workers do important and difficult work in our communities. But because the workforce is largely female, they are not paid enough. It’s wrong for ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    1 week ago
  • Nats’ HAM-fisted housing crisis denial
    National’s decision to knowingly release a flawed Housing Affordability Measure that underestimates the cost of housing is the latest evidence of their housing crisis denial, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    1 week ago
  • New Pike footage builds compelling case for mine re-entry
    New footage of the Pike River Mine deep inside the operation, revealing no fire damage or signs of an inferno, provides a compelling reason to grant the families of Pike River’s victims their wish to re-enter the drift, says Labour ...
    1 week ago
  • Labour will get tough on slum boarding houses
    The next Labour-led Government will legislate a Warrant of Fitness based on tough minimum standards to clean out slum boarding houses, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “It’s not acceptable for New Zealanders in the 21st Century to be living ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Green Party tribute to Dame Nganeko Minhinnick
    Haere ngā mate ki tua o paerau; te moenga roa o ngā mātua tupuna. Haere, haere, haere. It was with a huge sense of loss that we learned of the death of Dame Nganeko Minhinnick yesterday. The Green Party acknowledges ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    2 weeks ago
  • Urgent answers needed on DHB funding
      Jonathan Coleman must come clean and answer questions about what actual funding DHBs received in Budget 2017, says Labour Health Spokesperson David Clark.   ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Treasury puts Māori Land Service on red alert
    A damning Treasury report raises serious questions about the delivery of Te Ururoa Flavell’s proposed Māori Land Service, giving it a ‘red’ rating which indicates major issues with the project, says Ikaroa-Rāwhiti MP Meka Whaitiri.  “Treasury’s Interim Major Projects Monitoring ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Economy stalling after nine years of National’s complacency
    The second successive quarterly fall in per person growth shows the need for a fresh approach to give all New Zealanders a fair share in prosperity, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Kiwi kids deserve much more
    All Kiwi kids deserve so much more than the impoverished picture painted by the shameful rankings provided by the UNICEF Innocenti Report Card, says Labour’s children spokesperson Jacinda Ardern. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • NZ Zone a precursor to a total nuclear weapon ban
    New Zealand’s nuclear-free zone, legislated by Parliament in 1987, is something we all take pride in. It’s important, however, that we don’t let it thwart its own ultimate purpose – a world free of nuclear weapons. That goal must be ...
    GreensBy Kennedy Graham
    2 weeks ago
  • English must confirm we still stand by our principles on UN resolution
    Bill English must tell New Zealand whether we remain in support of the UN Security Council resolution on Israeli settlements in Palestinian territory, says Labour Leader Andrew Little. “After Foreign Affairs Minister Gerry Brownlee’s evasive answers to repeated questions on ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Māori party drop the poi on Māori health
    The Māori Party have dropped the poi when it comes to supporting Ngati Whakaue and Māori interests in Bay of Plenty by allowing an iwi owned and operated service Te Hunga Manaaki to be brushed aside in favour of a ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour to invest in Whanganui River infrastructure
    Labour will work in partnership with the Whanganui Council to repair and redevelop the city’s Port precinct in advance of planned economic development and expansion. To enable Whanganui’s plans, Labour will commit $3m in matching funding for repairing the Whanganui ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Parihaka: an apology
    An apology only works for healing if it is sincere and if it is accepted. We teach our children to apologise and to be genuine if they want to be forgiven. On Friday, June 9 at Parihaka, the Crown apologised ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    2 weeks ago
  • Survey shows many international students plan to stay in NZ after study
    Most international students in New Zealand at PTEs (private training establishments) who have a plan for themselves after study intend to stay in New Zealand to work. This shows how low-level education has become a backdoor immigration route under National, ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Councils step up as Nats drop the ball on housing crisis
    Phil Goff’s Mayoral Housing Taskforce is another positive example of councils stepping up where National has failed on housing, says Labour Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Time for a breather on immigration
    Labour will introduce moderate, sensible reforms to immigration to reduce the pressure on our cities, while ensuring we get the skilled workers our country needs, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “New Zealand is a country built on immigration. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Inaction puts Māui dolphins at risk
    Conservation Minister Maggie Barry was at the United Nations Oceans Conference in New York last week, trying to convince the world that the New Zealand Government is doing a good job at protecting our marine environment.  Yet last week after ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage
    2 weeks ago
  • National unprepared as immigration runs four times faster than forecast
    National has been caught asleep at the wheel by record immigration that has outstripped Budget forecasts, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • First home buyers shouldn’t carry the can for National’s failed policies
    The introduction of tighter limits on lending to first home buyers would see them paying the price for the National Party’s failure to recognise or fix the housing crisis, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “Nine years of denial and ...
    3 weeks ago