Heather du Plessis-Allan: Gumboot Friday deserves funding

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Fri, 2 Jul 2021, 4:17PM

Heather du Plessis-Allan: Gumboot Friday deserves funding

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Fri, 2 Jul 2021, 4:17PM

The Ministry of Health’s not looking particularly flash at the moment. 

Mike King’s accusing the Ministry of withholding funding from his mental health organisation ‘Gumboot Friday’ on account of a personal grudge against him because he keeps on calling them out publically. 

They say that’s not true.  

They say he just didn’t file this funding application within the available window.  

Well if we’ve got a case of he said, she said and we have to decide who to believe - Mike King or the Ministry of Health - in the absence of concrete evidence, I’m going with Mike King every time.

This is the very Ministry of Health that tried to gag another mental health organisation - the Mental Health Foundation - telling them they weren’t allowed to criticise the Ministry if they were taking Ministry money. 

The Mental Health Foundation was so outraged they went public with it. 

The Ministry is not in a position to be relying on legalistic obstacles to getting mental health money out the door.

It has $1.9 billion of taxpayer money tagged for helping our fellow Kiwis with mental health problems.

It is struggling to spend it. 

If they have a - as far as it appears – successful and well known programme asking for money but missing the available window, then bend the rules.

Give them the money.

It’s better out there helping people than sitting in a bank account somewhere.

I know a lot of people will think Mike King went too far this morning when he accused Ashley Bloomfield of being “a nasty little man” who is “killing our kids”. 

King has rightly apologised for that.

It was wrong to say that.  

But, rightly or wrongly, I cut Mike King a man who is so deeply passionate about mental health that he handed back his gong in protest at the Ministry of Health’s lack of action.

I’d wager that passion and frustration is the reason he went too far. 

Personally I’d rather have a Mike King who goes too far because he cares deeply than a Ministry of Health that doesn’t go far enough because it doesn’t care enough.

I’d say they’d better give that money to him or come out with a decent explanation for why not.

Or the sense that they’re being vindictive might set in.