Vital support services can’t be left in lurch

The National Government has big questions to answer about how a provider of services to thousands of vulnerable New Zealanders is set to fold, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says.

Relationships Aotearoa which provides support and counselling to families, individuals and survivors of domestic violence is set to shut its doors, minus any last minute intervention.

"There are thousands of vulnerable people and families who rely on Relationships Aotearoa for critical services. The government cannot leave them in the lurch.

“Like other non-governmental organisations, Relationships Aotearoa has been seriously underfunded in recent years. It has been asked to do more with less and the strain has clearly started to tell.

“National has serious questions to answer about how things have been allowed to reach this point.

"There are also confusing signals being sent by the Government to service providers with changing and complex funding arrangements. This is set to get worse in the Budget this week, with indications from Bill English that more will be expected of NGOs in managing and delivering programmes.

“Organisations such as Relationships Aotearoa do a great job, but ultimately the Government is accountable for the quality of services and for providing sufficient funding to keep them going.

“The demise of Relationships Aotearoa is clear evidence of the risks Bill English is running by undertaking his ideological experiment on our most vulnerable,” Grant Robertson says.