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Minister misleads public over NGO fiasco

The Government’s mishandling of the Relationships Aotearoa closure has left hundreds of vulnerable New Zealanders facing uncertain futures today, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni.

“Social Development Minister Anne Tolley and MSD’s Murray Edridge have overseen this fiasco.

“They misled New Zealanders from the outset, claiming they had five agencies lined up to take over from Relationships Aotearoa.

 “That was demonstrably untrue as the agencies themselves have said. They have not been contracted, they have no access to client files and they are not staffed to take on the extra work.

 “Stand, the one organisation which has confirmed it will take on some of the clients the closure has left in limbo, says it will take on 70 RA staff. RA had 183 staff looking after 7000 clients. It doesn’t add up.

"This was about the Government trying to make a political problem go away. It has back-fired badly and unfortunately it is RA’s clients who will suffer.

“NGOs like Relationships Aotearoa play a crucial role in the wellbeing of New Zealanders. National’s continued underfunding of the sector does not bode well for the future,” Carmel Sepuloni says.