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Government forces closure of Relationships Aotearoa

Government forces closure of Relationships Aotearoa

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Negotiations between Relationships Aotearoa (RA) and government agencies failed late yesterday afternoon (25 May 2015) when the negotiation’s lead agency, the Ministry of Social Development (MSD), broke good faith provisions.

“RA’s Board and senior management team have been working intensively and in good faith over the last 10 days to seek constructive pathways forward. The options we have explored included a safe and respectful transition for clients and staff if services were to close. Unfortunately, it now appears that funders had already committed to RA’s closure,” says Cary Hayward, Interim Board member, and Principal Strategic Adviser Practice and Quality for RA.

“Last Tuesday we met with Minister Tolley where she assured us that RA would continue to be contracted if we remained solvent. We assured funders that RA would be solvent once contracts for the 2015/16 year were finalised.

“On Friday, 22 May we received an offer of a 9 - 12 week transition from the agencies. Our legal advisers reviewed the offer and determined that the offer would expose RA to significant breaches of law. Our counter offer sent on Sunday, 24 May sought to remove the illegalities.

“Unfortunately, our financial position worsened by Government’s needless delay means we cannot afford to transition clients. We had hoped to transition clients over 9 – 12 weeks, however, the offer made on Friday was rescinded yesterday.

“Government could have easily reached an agreement with us that was equitable for all concerned. It is fair to say that we feel betrayed, “ he says.

“RA has been a loyal partner to government for decades, and we acted in good faith over the past 10 days to reach a mutually agreeable position.

“The actions of Officials appear to have been misleading. “This will be of concern to the wider NGO sector.

“The outcome will result in an immediate closure of RA nationwide. The exact timing is still to be worked out, but it is likely that our doors will be closed to our 7000 current clients by the end of the week.

“Additionally, up-to 900 people will need to be referred back to Court, and 183 people will lose their jobs.

“RA will be focussed on storage of client files, contacting clients to cancel appointments and supporting transition where possible.”

ENDS

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