Changes signalled to funding of community organisations; Relationships Aotearoa may close

Wed 20 May 2015

Radio New Zealand has obtained a Cabinet paper by Social Development Minister Anne Tolley, which discusses a new approach to the way it funds ...

Radio New Zealand has obtained a Cabinet paper by Social Development Minister Anne Tolley, which discusses a new approach to the way it funds community organisations.

Radio New Zealand reported this would focus a lot more on achieving results which were priorities for the Government. Priority areas were said to be children at risk and people facing hardship, young offenders, and adult victims and perpetrators of family and sexual violence. The paper said there needed to be a comprehensive review of the services MSD pays for over the next two years. It said some providers might have to lay off staff or cease operations altogether as a result of the changes that will be made.

Radio New Zealand said the changes did not appear to have implications for the Budget on Thursday 21 May 2015. There was no suggestion of changes in the current overall funding of those groups, stated to be about $600 million a year. However the paper said depending on the outcome of the review, there may be implications in the next year or two.

Radio New Zealand said Minister Anne Tolley responded in a statement that no Government decisions had been made on the funding revamp, which had been discussed with the sector.

Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei the changes were about the Government wanting to save money. "So they will require non-government organisations to change they way they work and pay for it themselves, and then are still threatening to cut services and move that money around," she said.

Māori Women's Welfare League president Pru Kapua said it was worrying for organisations doing work which the Government did not consider a priority.

The Government has signalled a change to way it funds community organisations towards a focus on outcomes, including through MSD's Investing in Services for Outcomes, and the review currently underway by the Productivity Commission.

Re-Imagining Social Work (RSW), a volunteer collective of social workers, social work academics, researchers and others, has cited the Government's review of Child, Youth and Family as another example of the "continuing roll out of the National Government's 'investment approach' to marketise and privatise health and social services."

International resources

In NSW, Australia, the websites No Shelter and SOS: Save Our Women's Services provide information and actions on the closure of more than 80 women's refuges in 2014. Two articles by Wendy Bacon published on New Matilda, UPDATED: The Gutting and Gagging Of Feminist Women's Refuges (25 July 2014) and Regional Women's Refuges Are Being Ripped Apart (23 March 2015) provide further information.

In the UK, Women's Aid has published two reports on the funding and commissioning issues (2013 and 2014) which are placing specialist women's domestic violence services at risk.

Further information on international funding models is available in the Clearinghouse news story on the Productivity Commission review.

Relationships Aotearoa

The future of Relationships Aotearoa is uncertain due to a funding crisis. For further information, see the media coverage below. Updates will be added to this page as they are available.


Cabinet paper

Crucial social services take another hit, Press release: Labour Party, 22.05.2015

Government warned plans could backfire, Radio NZ, 20.05.2015

'Destabilising' funding changes proposed, Radio NZ, 20.05.2015

Changes to funding for support providers, Radio NZ, 19.05.2015

Relationships Aotearoa

Govt names new providers to replace Relationships Aotearoa, Stuff, 26.05.2015

Alternative service for Relationships Aotearoa Clients, Media Release: Ministry of Social Development, 26.05.2015

Relationships Aotearoa welcomes discussion with the five alternative providers, Media Release: Relationships Aotearoa, 26.05.2015

Progress in identifying alternative providers welcome - RA, Radio NZ, 26.05.2015

Relationships Aotearoa's closure hurt Manawatu, Voxy, 26.05.2015

Government forces closure of Relationships Aotearoa, Media release: Relationships Aotearoa, 26.05.2015

Anne Tolley tells counselling service to 'calm down' after it confirms closure, One News, 26.05.2015

Relationships Aotearoa says likely to close, Radio NZ, 26.05.2015

Relationships Aotearoa rejects Government offer of $80,000, Stuff, 26.05.2015

Help sought by agencies now asked to help, Press Release: New Zealand Labour Party, Scoop, 27.05.2015

Relationships Aotearoa 'ahead of the game', Voxy, 21.05.2015

Relationships Aotearoa to learn fate today, NewtalkZB, 21.05.2015

Timaru may lose tool for fighting domestic violence, Timaru Herald, 21.05.2015

Family law expert: Relationships Aotearoa 'crucial to country's wellbeing', Stuff, 20.05.2015

Relationships Aotearoa - Our Story; filling in the gaps, (press release), 20.05.2015

Relationship Services losses at high cost to New Zealand, (press release), 20.05.2015

Relationships Aotearoa offended by Minister Tolley's claims, (press release), 20.05.2015

Counselling service rejects claim it's badly run, Radio New Zealand, 20.05.2015‎

Counselling agency hoping for resolution, Newstalk ZB, 20.05.215

Relationships Aotearoa concludes meeting with Minister, (press release), 19.05.2015‎

Relationships Aotearoa - our story, (press release), 19.05.2015‎

Relationships Aotearoa response to TV One news story, (press release), 19.05.2015‎

Relationships Aotearoa expects decision on future tomorrow, Voxy, 19.05.2015 ‎

Counselling service says under-performing claims wrong, New Zealand Herald, 19.05.2015

Government may let Relationships Aotearoa fold,, 19.05.2015‎

Relationships Aotearoa hanging on at 'awful' 11th hour, TVNZ, 19.05.2015‎

Counselling provider Relationships Aotearoa 'won't be propped up', Stuff, 19.05.2015‎

Counselling service's future uncertain, NZCity, 19.05.2015‎

Concerns raised for NGO's ahead of Budget 2015, Māori Television, 19.05.2015‎

Largest counselling agency set to close, 3News NZ, 19.05.2015‎

Counselling service could fold without funding boost, New Zealand Herald, 19.05.2015‎

Funding crisis a 'dire situation', Newstalk ZB, 19.05.2015‎

Relationships Aotearoa warns of closure if funding talks fail, Stuff, 18.05.2015‎

Relationships Aotearoa under threat, Radio New Zealand, 18.05.2015‎

'Devastating news for vulnerable Kiwis' - Relationships Aotearoa struggling to stay afloat, TVNZ, 18.05.2015‎

Vital support services can't be left in lurch, (press release: New Zealand Labour Party), 17.05.2015‎

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