New Zealand First is pledging $10 million to Gumboot Friday over three years should it be elected into Government in the October election.
Led by mental health advocate and former New Zealander of the Year Mike King, the initiative aims to provide children and young people access to mental health assistance.
The money will go towards the cost of providing free counselling and all administration costs for the programme.
Party leader Winston Peters announced the policy while on the election trail in Gisborne today. He says Gumboot Friday is an "extraordinarily efficient" service.
"I think it's a very practical on the ground service...Sad to say, even though this Government was committed at the beginning to turning around these [mental health] results, I think there's too much bureaucracy and not enough action on the ground."
Peters says because Covid-19 has caused havoc and disruption in schools, the need for counselling has never been greater.
"However, schools just don’t have the resources to do it by themselves," says Peters.
“While Government agencies are doing their best some young people are stuck waiting up to six months to receive the counselling they so urgently need. New Zealand First will change that fast."
Funds raised by Gumboot Friday last year supported nearly 4000 kids seeking help and provided funding for over 13,000 counselling sessions for our young people, according to NZ First.
New Zealand First says administration costs will be capped at nine per cent, which means 91 cents of every dollar will be used specifically for counselling.
“It is a proven, robust, fit for purpose online platform that is already being used to provide services. The platform will reduce pressure on publicly funded counselling services provided by the Ministry of Health and overworked GPs," says Peters.
“The platform improves access and choice and assurance of patient confidentiality. Self-referral removes the barrier of stigma and judgement by peers sometimes associated with school-based counselling."