It is disturbing that Relationships Aotearoa, a voluntary organisation set up in 1949 to help couples struggling with their relationships following the upheavals of World War II, may be forced to close, says Acting Spokesperson for the Voluntary and Community Sector Louisa Wall.
It is estimated they serve over 7000 New Zealanders, of which over 1000 are Cantabrians receiving earthquake-recovery counselling, families requiring abuse and family violence counselling and vulnerable youth. My concern is for their health and wellbeing and this should be the government's priority too.
“The governors feel it was funding cuts and the complex nature of the funding arrangements that produced this situation, so given the government was the cause of this situation, it’s the government that can resolve it. It seems there is a lack of political will to address the relevant issues and the community receiving the service is irrelevant.
“I find it curious that Ms Tolley has emphasised that the Ministry of Social Development and other agencies are now on standby to contract out Relationships Aotearoa's services. Who are these agencies and has the deal already been done?
Cary Hayward, the group's principal strategic adviser, said some clients would see a switch to a new counselor as a betrayal.
"Often we're dealing with the most vulnerable end of the spectrum and often they're clients that are hard to engage in services anyway. Sometimes it takes a long time for clients to build up enough faith to really engage.”
Louisa Wall says, ”It makes you consider that the governments real motivation is to potentially save some of the $8 million in funding that Relationships Aotearoa currently receives from the Ministries of Social Development, Justice and Corrections.”
“It wouldn't be surprising that money is this Minister's primary motivation as demonstrated by her CYFS review. Her motivation should be to deliver better services for the communities that receive those services.”