New Zealand Labour Party

NGO sector revamp unravelling

The mess surrounding Relationships Aotearoa’s closure is reminiscent of National’s handling of its state house sell off with only one of the five agencies shoulder tapped by the Government to take clients after the closure of Relationships Aotearoa agreeing to step in, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni.

“MSD’s Murray Edridge has talked about difficulties with obtaining the client files from Relationships Aotearoa.

“However as far as I’m concerned handing over client files in this setting raises some serious privacy concerns.

“Stand Children’s Services still doesn’t have a contract with the Government to legitimately take on the 7000 clients from Relationships Aotearoa. At the same time MSD is talking about Stand employing up to 70 of the clinical staff from RA, without a formal contract from the Government to deliver the services. 

“How can an organisation take on such a large number of staff without a legal contract that assures them of funding to deliver the service and honour their commitment to the staff they employ?

“Yet without Relationships Aotearoa staff Stand is not equipped to meet the needs of Relationship Aotearoa’s clients.  It works with children between the ages of 5 and 12, and was not set up to deal with specific issues, such as adults with suicidal and homicidal thoughts.

“The Government have been negligent in dealing with Relationships Aotearoa.  They have not only undermined the organisation and staff but they have put some very vulnerable clients in a dangerous position. 

“The handling of Relationships Aotearoa hardly inspires confidence in the Government’s new ‘community investment strategy’ which looks set to cut funding to even more NGOs,” says Carmel Sepuloni