The Government’s much vaunted social bonds experiment is a multi-million dollar failure, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King.
“The news that the Wise Group has now withdrawn from the project to develop a pilot for mental health employment services, shows that this day dream has finally run its course.
"$1.6 million has been spent on social bonds to date and further $360,000 has been set aside for the coming year. This amounts to $1.9 million for nothing.
“The Minister of Health Jonathan Coleman was supposed to take a business case for this first pilot to Cabinet last September, but has failed to do so.
“All of this points to a Government which is trying to avoid paying for core health and social services by getting big business to stump up the cash.
“It was arrogant for the Government to think the social bonds experiments that failed overseas would somehow work here.
“After beginning as a Budget announcement in 2015, the New Zealand version has foundered on the simple fact that the Crown and the businesses involved can’t agree on a price.
“It’s a shame that the $1.9 million earmarked for social bonds was not spent on bridging the funding gap for mental health,” says Annette King.