Have Your Say: Is it appropriate for gang-linked social services to be funded by the Government?

  • 14/07/2021

It was revealed earlier this week the Government signed off millions of dollars to a Mongrel Mob rehab scheme while other community-based organisations are desperate for help.

Nearly $3 million in funding seized from gangs and criminals by police is being used to fund the Mongrel Mob's Kahukura drug and trauma rehabilitation scheme. The initiative is a live-in marae-based programme that aims to address trauma and drug-seeking behaviour.

The National Party and ACT have blasted the Government for the decision, saying it is "a sick joke" and there are other mental health and addiction services without ties to gangs that would be a "better choice" for funding.

Opposition MPs pointed to initiatives like mental health advocate Mike King's Gumboot Friday, which provides free counselling for young people around New Zealand, that should receive funding instead.

King criticised Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern for giving the Mongrel Mob programme money but not his charity Gumboot Friday. Last month, the Ministry of Health rejected funding for his charity, saying the application was outside the timeframe for procurement, meaning it could not be funded.

Ardern said on Tuesday that National has previously funded gang rehab schemes

"It does look pretty obviously like a political manoeuvre when you have a programme from 2010 of a very similar nature funded and supported, and now we see National in Opposition taking a very different view," Ardern said. 

"Our position is, fund what works - fund what makes a difference. We know we have to address methamphetamine as a scourge in New Zealand."

Is it appropriate for gang-linked social services to be funded by the Government?

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