New Zealand Labour Party

Private files left in boxes as help agency bungling continues

The private case files of hundreds of Relationships Aotearoa clients are sitting in boxes in offices around the country as the wrangling over their transition to other agencies continues, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni.

"PwC as liquidator has permission to access the files, but there are technical issues around their removal – making a fiction of Social Development Minister Anne Tolley’s assurances no-one would be without support during the handover. 

“To add to that MSD’s Murray Eldridge and the Privacy Commissioner have been at odds over the complexity of the file transfer process, with the Commissioner expressing considerable annoyance at MSD claiming it would be straightforward.

“RA had asked for three months to work with their clients in moving them to the Government’s preferred service providers. Instead MSD only offered them 10 weeks, during which they would receive no funding.

“Now we have the Government paying Deloitte to manage the transition, presumably costing even more, and clients still waiting to be assigned new counsellors. “Not only that but new primary provider STAND originally said it would take on 70 of Relationships Aotearoa’s clinical staff. So far it has picked up just 46 out of a new total of 63.

“Anne Tolley is responsible for this debacle. She has been nothing short of incompetent in her handling of it.

“Pulling support networks from some particularly vulnerable people in such an extremely disruptive manner is inexcusable,” Carmel Sepuloni says.