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Mentally ill NZers are not a cash cow for National's mates

The Government’s plan to allow foreign banks and big money investors to profit off mentally ill New Zealanders is a part of an ongoing plan to privatise public services, that will see more vulnerable Kiwis hurt, the Green Party says today.

In the House today, Health Minister Jonathan Coleman refused to rule out the possibility of social service providers being driven to the wall by new social investment bonds that see organisations denied payment for not meeting the Government’s targets

The Government has announced a plan for investors to fund service providers to help mentally ill New Zealanders into work, on the condition that if the plan works they’ll earn a bigger cut of Government funding, but if it doesn’t the Government will not pay for the service.

“Mentally ill New Zealanders need the Government to provide more of a commitment to them, not to abdicate all responsibility for them to foreign banks and big money investors,” Green Party social development spokesperson Jan Logie said.

“National doesn’t care that the biggest stumbling block facing New Zealanders with a mental illness who want to work is discrimination. Having a big bank breathe down the neck of a social service provider, demanding outcomes so it can make a profit, isn’t going to make that discrimination go away.

“The National Government has ignored the advice of the Department of Internal Affairs which warned investors will only want to put money into programmes that are certain to work – which completely defeats the purpose.

“Social bonds are a continuation of National’s attempt to privatise public services, which will always see the most vulnerable left out and National’s mates better off. In two years of charter schools, not one has enrolled a student with the highest special needs.

“Investors always seek the best bang for their buck, and Kiwis who are the hardest to help, who come with no guarantee they’ll ever pass an exam or get a job, pose the highest risk to investors. It makes sense that they’ll be ignored,” Ms Logie said.