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Relationship Services losses at high cost to New Zealand

Relationship Services losses at high cost to New Zealand

New Zealand Association of Psychotherapists

Tuesday 19th May, 2015

Today Relationships Aotearoa rejected accusations from the Social Development Minister Anne Tolley that its current deficit is due to being badly run.

Relationships Aotearoa have consistently had their funding cut since the wholesale removal of Family Court funded couples counselling in 2014, which represented a significant loss of access to help for couples and families struggling to avoid separation or divorce.

Despite this the agency has managed to continue providing low cost counselling to couples and those in need, and the recent suggestion that the losses present a lack of responsible management, as opposed to a lack of funding, is contested by Relationships Aotearoa.

“Unfortunately it seems that this is a further attempt by this National Government to reduce funding, and responsibility for providing counselling and psychotherapy services to New Zealander’s in need” says New Zealand Association of Psychotherapists Public Issues spokesperson Kyle MacDonald. “It seems cynical to me to suggest that such a well established and well respected agency such as Relationships Aotearoa is “badly run” when it has had most of it’s major funding streams reduced as a direct result of policy changes of this National Government.”

Large scale changes to the Ministry of Justice’s approach and funding of the Family Court, overseen by Minsiter Judith Collins in 2013 – 14 removed funding for couples to seek counselling prior to separating. There is little doubt this saved many families from the pain of divorce and protected many children from further conflict, violence and separation.

“It seems this Government continues to see counselling services as a luxury, and unfortunately those most in need are finding it harder and harder to access the help they need. I would say that as a society the long term costs of this family conflict, violence and separation are a cost we can not afford to bear.” Says MacDonald.


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