Report claiming St John in severe 'financial risk' shows it has poor money management - union

A report into St John Ambulance saying the organisation is in severe "financial risk" proves it has poor money management, a union claims.

TVNZ reported on Sunday a review into St John, carried out independently by consultancy firm Martin Jenkins, found the organisation "has not adequately focused on controlling the organisation's costs to the extent needed for it to live within its means".

First Union alleges the report shows the charity cannot stick to its budget for the rest of the funding contract with the Government - due to end in July. Union spokesperson Sarah Stone says St John cannot manage its finances.

"Recently there's been a lot of untruths from the organisation and they've been exposed," she told Newshub.

But a St John spokesperson says the organsation disputes claims it's not living within its means.

"On the contrary, it is incredibly cost-efficient but can no longer run down its reserves and rely on fundraising to run the emergency ambulance service."

Some St John workers are going on strike this week after the ambulance operator said it didn't have the money to live up to a new pay rate agreement it came to with First Union members last year.

"Trust in the organisation is so, so low there is absolutely no way members can agree to this," Stone said earlier this month.

That came after the operator announced it would cut up to 100 jobs as the charity's long-standing financial woes worsened due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

The St John spokesperson said they believe the Martin Jenkins report ignored several factors.

"St John believes the review failed to consider its findings within the wider context of the changing nature of the health sector, the increased expectations placed on the ambulance service, the wider economic conditions, and the current outdated funding model.

"The review's approach and expectations were based on a service that is fully funded, rather than one that is 70 percent funded."