“There is a vengeance”: Simon Bridges accused the Ministry of Health of withholding contracts from critics


National MP Simon Bridges says Mike King is right in assuming that he won’t get multi-million dollar contracts to run mental health services because he’s too outspoken.

King, a former comedian best known today for his mental health work, criticized the government this week for failing to fund his Gumboot Friday initiative – he wanted $ 5 million but got nothing and named it was a “really sad day”.

“It’s absolutely personal, they want to get rid of me, they really do,” he told the AM Show on Friday. “They don’t want a stupid, snooty comedian walking in there without a school report telling them how to do their job – but the irony is that the person best at finding a bad joke is a comedian and the ministry is a bad joke. “

King returned his New Zealand Order of Merit medal last month, saying he was no longer comfortable wearing it because he cited a lack of mental health advancement, despite hundreds of millions in funding in 2019.

Bridges, who appeared on the AM Show immediately after King, said he was right.

“I disagree with Mike on 85,000 things, but I admire his courage and perseverance very much. It would be easy for him to break away from all of this – the guy could be good and get gigs and everything else, so I admire him. ..

“But there’s a vengeance in the government. If you’re the type to speak out, you don’t get the funding. Personally, I think there’s something to it because you see it. You see it in all the other outlets. It are one or two notable exceptions, but they take the money and then remain silent. “

Labor MP David Parker, who appeared alongside Bridges, said the decision was left to the Department of Health officials, who had “fairly carefully” examined King’s application before making a decision.

He denied Bridges’ allegations that officials are rejecting applications from organizations and individuals criticizing the ministry.

“For that to be true, it would effectively be said that this is the motivation of the officials who make these decisions in the Department of Health… I think that’s a pretty crude accusation. I think almost everyone goes to work well motivated. “To make a difference, just like Mike King.”

Health Department spokeswoman Robyn Shearer said in a statement to Newshub that Gumboot Friday’s application was “unfortunately sent outside of the planned procurement process” so it could not be funded.

“The procurement rules should ensure a transparent, fair and equitable process and ensure a solid evaluation of applications.”

She encouraged King to make another motion as “part of the formal” early next year [request for proposal] Procedure for youth welfare “.

Where to find help and support:

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  • Lifeline – 0800 543 354 or (09) 5222 999 within Auckland
  • Youthline – 0800 376 633, SMS 234, email [email protected] or online chat
  • Samaritans – 0800 726 666
  • Depression hotline – 0800 111 757
  • Suicide Crisis Helpline – 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO)
  • Shakti Town Council – 0800 742 584

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