Mike King lashes Jacinda Ardern over funding for Mongrel Mob rehab scheme but not Gumboot Friday

Mike King has hit out at Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern over funding a Mongrel Mob-run rehab programme, but not his charity Gumboot Friday. 

On Monday, Ardern confirmed she signed off on millions of dollars to fund a meth rehab programme run by the Mongrel Mob. 

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.

But King slammed the Prime Minister after his pleas for funding were turned down.

Last month, the Ministry of Health rejected funding for Gumboot Friday, which was founded by King and provides free counselling for young people. The ministry said Gumboot Friday's funding application was outside the timeframe for procurement, meaning it could not be funded. 

In a Facebook video posted on Monday night, King criticised the Prime Minister for giving the Mongrel Mob programme funding, but not his charity. 

While he clarified he didn't have an issue with the programme being given money, he took issue with the Prime Minister taking credit for it despite telling him she couldn't be involved in deciding whether his charity got money or not. 

"When I asked you to have a conversation about it in the Koru Club, you looked me in the eye and you said, 'Mike I cannot get involved in this, we have a fair and equitable system and I cannot be involved in funding decisions'.

"Yet today you stood at the press conference and you took credit for signing off $2.75 million to the Mongrel Mob. I don't get it. Where is the fair and equitable process? Where is the honesty and transparency? For me, it's lost and you've been making these silly decisions for a long time now."

King went on to air a list of grievances including only $15 million of a $500 million COVID health fund being given to mental health. 

In March 2020, the Government announced an initial fund of $500 million to protect New Zealanders' health. It's part of the Government's $50 billion COVID Response and Recovery Fund announced in Budget 2020. 

Ardern has previously defended the Government's progress on mental health amid criticism from King. 

At a press conference on Tuesday Ardern said both mental health and addiction need to be addressed. 

"I think everyone who works across mental health and addiction knows that we need to both address the need in our mental health system and also addiction because of course, those in sector recognise that so often we see both issues cruising time and time again in our communities. We need to do both."