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'Devastating news for vulnerable Kiwis' - Relationships Aotearoa struggling to stay afloat

Labour MP Grant Robertson says thousands of New Zealanders are under threat tonight after it was revealed that the country's largest provider of counselling and relationship services, Relationships Aotearoa, is battling to stay afloat.

"This is devastating news for vulnerable people in New Zealand," Mr Robertson told ONE News.

"These services are essential to health and well-being to thousands of New Zealanders."

The non-government agency - which gets around $8 million in funding from the Ministries of Social Development, Justice and Corrections - is now in meetings with the Government, hoping to reach a resolution.

It's understood Relationships Aotearoa currently provides advice to around 7,000 clients.

It advertises itself as New Zealand's largest provider of professional counselling and relationship education services, which include support in cases of domestic abuse and family violence.

The organisation has around 180 staff across the country.

Talks with the Government come after Relationships Aotearoa's board and chair were replaced with an interim board and new interim chair by members last week.

It's understood the old board was planning to recommend that the organisation should be wound up.

The counselling and support organisation recorded a deficit of $270,000 in the last financial year.

The board's new interim chair, Dr Jane Allison, has confirmed that current urgent talks with Government agencies are with the aim of trying to keep Relationships Aotearoa afloat.

Social Development Minister, Anne Tolley, says Relationships Aotearoa has been experiencing financial difficulties for some time and has struggled to provide all of its services.

She says the Government has given it extra funding grants to try to help it.

While it could yet be saved as the Government's preference is for a nationwide provider, she says: "We cannot keep giving them help to survive when they're not financially viable."

However she's confirmed she is working on a contingency plan to help the 7,000 clients who could be affected.

Ms Tolley says the Ministry of Social Development and other agencies are now on standby to contract out Relationships Aotearoa's services.

The country’s largest relationship counselling provider is on the brink of financial collapse. Source: 1 NEWS


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