INDEPENDENT NEWS

No Room In Charity For Pot-Kettle Politics

Published: Sat 25 May 2024 04:58 PM
I Am Hope founder Mike King has expressed disappointment over the Labour Party's recent criticism of the coalition government's $24 million funding allocation to Gumboot Friday over four years.
"It’s disheartening to see a major political party in New Zealand use an initiative aimed at supporting young people’s mental health for political point-scoring and mudslinging," King said. "This funding is a critical investment in the mental well-being of our youth, an area where New Zealand still has much work to do."
Gumboot Friday, an initiative under I Am Hope, provides free counselling sessions to young people struggling with mental health issues. The Labour Party's recent criticism contrasts sharply with their previous support, including the $600,000 allocation from Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s discretionary fund in 2021.
"It's ironic and hypocritical that the same party that once supported our cause is now using it as a political football. It's a classic case of the pot calling the kettle black," said King. "I don’t recall any outcry about bypassing procurement protocols when Jacinda reached out and provided us with much-needed funding."
King emphasised the urgent need for increased mental health support for young New Zealanders across the entire sector. “Gumboot Friday is just one piece in the jigsaw, and instead of putting one charity down, they should be looking to lift other charities up. Our youth deserve better than to have their mental health needs politicised. Charities need support, understanding, and action — not political games."
King concluded by urging a unified approach: "We must come together as a nation to address this critical issue. It's shameful that we are still so far from where we need to be. Let’s rise above petty political point-scoring and commit to real, impactful action for the sake of our youth."

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