More questions than answers

Source: Association of Salaried Medical Specialists

The Mental Health and Addiction inquiry report has laudable aims but lacks detail about implementation and side-lines those who work in the sector, says Lyndon Keene, Director of Policy and Research at the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists (ASMS)

Published in ASMS magazine The Specialist on page 17-18, Mr Keene’s analysis of the report can be read here:

Mr Keene takes issue with the inquiry panel’s decision to be (in the panel’s words) “guided by the needs of people and communities rather than the preferences of the various groups accustomed to the way the system is structured and services are delivered at present”.

Excluding workforce views might account, in part, for a lack of substance about how to deliver the recommendations. Mr Keene says notwithstanding the exclusion of workforce views, the conclusions are reasonable and will find consensus. An emphasis on wellbeing and community, prevention, expanded access to services, and more treatment options are laudable, if rather familiar, aims. The lack of specifics about how to achieve the desired outcomes allows the Government much wriggle-room.

The practicalities of what will change, and how, are no closer to being answered than before the panel was convened, Mr Keene writes.

While the report talks about a “workforce crisis” there is little recognition of issues in the psychiatrist workforce. Indeed, the report incorrectly states there was “a large jump in the number of registered psychiatrists in 2018”.

Trainee numbers have risen in recent years but are lower than in the early 2000s. There is a heavy reliance on international medical graduates (60% of the workforce).

In 2018 there were 492 full-time equivalent psychiatrists employed by DHBs, compared with 482 in 2017.  Caution is needed interpreting the figures because it could reflect an increase in registrations of doctors, including non-specialist medical officers, who were already practising.

District health board workforce figures do not show a large jump in full-time-equivalent psychiatrists.

The report calls for psychiatrists to provide more support for community-based workers. ASMS has long advocated for integrated services and patient-centred care. This approach requires a well-resourced specialist workforce.

Ultimately, it’s the Government – whose official response to the report is expected soon – which determines if the recommendations are transformed into actions.

“The extent to which the Government supports a well-resourced [Mental Health] Commission with teeth will be an early test of its commitment to addressing our mental health crisis,” Mr Keene writes.


NZ-first of its kind online funeral donation-giving platform


Christchurch – A Christchurch company has come up with a New Zealand-first concept of a platform so people can give money online for a charity at a funeral.

At the moment, the only other option is for people to set up a page on sites like Give A Little or Everyday Hero. Now, a Christchurch tech business, Memorial Gifting, has produced a much easier way of making online donations to a charity in memory of a loved one that avoids the need for the family to have to set up their own online collection.
“People are able to donate using their credit or debit card by using the link published in the newspaper and on the service sheet,” Memorial Gifting director Terry Fullerton says.

“Donating online has the benefits that the family of the deceased know who has donated and can thank them plus the people making the donations will receive a tax receipt from the charity.
“It is common for the family to ask for donations to a charity in their remembrance and often in lieu of flowers.

“A donation box at a funeral is less effective as hardly anyone carries cash any longer. So, we have solved the problem so people can more easily donate online. We find that with online donations both the individual amount donated and the total donated are much larger than what is collected in the donation box.

“Many funeral directors throughout New Zealand are now using the service to add a link to a death notice that allows Memorial Gifting to activate an online collection allowing people to donate immediately.

“Funeral homes here welcome the idea of phasing out the donation box as it saves their staff time and hassle of handling cash donations. In Australia, it is common to request that the benefiting organisation attend the service to do their own collections.

“Our online donation service is available for all funeral directors to offer to their clients at no cost to the family or the funeral home as an easy, effective way to collect donations. Any funeral home not already using our service only needs to contact us to begin the simple process.

“What is so distinctive about our Memorial Gifting site compared with any other online donation sites is that we enable funeral directors to insert a donation link at the time of writing the death notice, making the service immediate and tailored for the family and benefiting organisation.

“We believe the technology has the potential to do for funeral donations what online donations has done for church collections,” Fullerton says.

For further information contact Christchurch Company Memorial Gifting Terry Fullerton on 027 4729180 or Make Lemonade NZ editor-in-chief Kip Brook on 0275 03018


Opinion: Why IDEA Services members are striking – E tū

Source: Etu Union

By Nic Corrigan

Most IDEA Services residential staff are physically at work between 50-70 hours a week. This includes weekends, evening and overnights.  Staff will often go that extra mile and even work in other towns away from home, to help out when there isn’t anyone else to fill a shift.  And often during our time off, we are rung day or night to sacrifice time with our families to cover shifts.

We do this because we know these vulnerable people need us. But this all comes at a significant personal cost to support workers’ personal lives, in terms of giving up time and milestones with their family and Friends. 

Now IHC/IDEA Services tells us they the support workers to be more ‘flexible’.  What they are saying is what we do is not enough; they want even more from us.

Members believe they already give everything they can to the people we support, and they can’t sacrifice anymore.  They are deeply offended by IDEA Service’s escalating demands and worried about how much more they and their families will have to sacrifice to keep their job and passion. For many, it’s already been too much and they have quit.

Senior Support Workers

While most people know support workers go the extra mile, some might not know that it is the Senior support workers who lead this.  They mentor, support and lead the team.  If something new needs to happen or a person we support wants to achieve something new in their life, it’s the Senior support worker who leads the way to enable the support team to make it happen for the person they support. We want these senior staff members recognised with a small pay rise, and celebrated for the extra contribution, commitment, knowledge and experience they bring to the organisation.  IHC/Idea Services wants the position gone.


We are striking to ensure the places we work are safe from violence and that there is adequate support to ensure this happens.   Too often our members are placed in a situation where they must choose whether to protect themselves or the people they support from physical harm – and thus we chose to ourselves in harm’s way to protect others. IHC/Idea Services wants to remove a section from our Collective Agreement that acknowledges that some of our service users have challenging behaviours which are a risk to health and safety. If this happens, members feel this will render invisible the fact that some support workers face the threat of violence from service users on a daily basis.

We take the hits, punches, bites and threats of violence and we try to manage this the best we can.  What we don’t expect is for our employer to add salt to our injuries by dismissing our real safety concerns.


Support workers need and have the right to be treated with respect, and to feel safe like every other working New Zealander. We are striking to ensure these principles are respected and upheld.


E tū condemns arrest of journalists in Fiji – E tū

Source: Etu Union

E tū welcomes the release of three Newsroom journalists who were arrested in Fiji but says they should never have been detained in the first place.

Newsroom co-editor Mark Jennings, Investigations editor Melanie Reid, and cameraman Hayden Aull were detained and held overnight at the main Suva police station after developer Freesoul Real Estate accused them of criminal trespass.

The journalists were released this morning and the Fijian PM, Frank Bainimarama has apologised.

E tū’s Senior National Industrial Officer, Paul Tolich says the union welcomes the release of the journalists but says they should never have been arrested in the first place.

“The journalists were simply engaged in journalistic inquiries about the impact of development on Malolo Island and the actions of the police are another example of Fiji’s intolerance towards a free and independent press,” says Paul.

“Despite the apology from Fiji’s Prime Minister, this will have a chilling effect on journalism in the Pacific,” he says.  

“Journalists need to be able to challenge the powerful and hold them to account. This is the hallmark of a free and democratic society.

“We urge the Fijian government to support independent journalism rather than maintaining a climate which supports those who would seek to suppress it.”


For further information, contact:

Paul Tolich E tū Industrial Officer ph. 027 593 5595


NZ Union Movement Supports Improvements to Gun Laws

Source: Council of Trade Unions – CTU


First major NZ exercise conference in Christchurch for 15 years


Christchurch – The phenomenal growth of boutique fitness studios as well as specialist classes such as aqua and spin will be among the topics discussed at the FitEx-Lite conference in Christchurch next month.

The May 18 ExerciseNZ event has attracted interest from hundreds of people and will be hosting speakers from both around New Zealand and overseas.

ExerciseNZ chief executive Richard Beddie says another big issue to be talked about will be facia. This tissue which is important for stabilisation and mobility within the body, is so often ignored.

“Facia, or the connective tissue between the muscles, ligaments and tendons, is proving to play an important role in not only performance, but everyday movement and, in many cases, restrictions and injuries.

“We will also discuss why rest is so important for the body. Regular exercisers often use techniques and concepts borrowed from athletes yet they seldom use the rest athletes’ and recovery strategies.

“We will also look at solutions on how to support people with chronic health conditions – everything from cancer to Alzheimers. There are so many health conditions which benefit from exercise.

“Learning the what and how of exercising with a serious health condition is essential if we as an industry are going to help about a million Kiwis with a chronic long-term health issues,” Beddie says.

ExerciseNZ has been running major annual conferences in Auckland every for the last 15 years but Christchurch has one of the most active communities of exercise professionals in NZ, taking into account its size.

Beddie says he is excited to launch the first ever FitEx LITE in Christchurch which has been designed to offer world-class education opportunities for exercise professionals and movement practitioners.

For further information contact Make Lemonade NZ editor-in-chief Kip Brook on 0275 030188


Scheduled outage for end of daylight saving — Sunday 7 April 2019

Source: Companies Office – Press Release/Statement:

Headline: Scheduled outage for end of daylight saving — Sunday 7 April 2019

Availability will resume at 2.05am NZST Sunday 7 April 2019.

The affected websites include:

  • Companies Office
  • Companies Register
  • Disclose Register
  • Financial Service Providers Register (FSPR)
  • Incorporated Societies and Charitable Trusts Register (Societies and Trusts Online).
  • Personal Property Securities Register (PPSR)

We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.

Published on , last updated on .


Warm up for winter

Source: Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority

Winter is coming but you may be able to make your home warmer and drier with a Government grant covering at least two-thirds of the cost of ceiling and underfloor insulation.

Eddie Thompson from EECA Energywise says many New Zealand homes are cold and unhealthy, contributing to respiratory issues and other health problems.

“A well-insulated home is healthier and easier to heat.  Insulation is like a big, thermal blanket keeping the heat in the home.”

Warmer Kiwi Homes grants are available to homeowners with a Community Services Card or households in lower-income areas, Mr Thompson says.

“In some parts of the country, generous donations from community organisations mean the cost to homeowners is even lower. You may be surprised how little you have to pay.”

Mr Thompson advises eligible homeowners to book in as soon as possible because the insulation industry is very busy as the weather starts to cool down and in the lead up to the deadline for insulating rentals.

“We want to avoid homeowners having a long, cold wait for insulation over the winter.”

To find out if you are eligible for a grant, visit or free phone 0800 749 782.

Grants for heating appliances are available from July for properties that are already insulated to a good standard, Mr Thompson says.

Other top Energywise tips for a warmer home include:

  1. DIY window insulation kits cost a fraction of the price of double glazing, yet offer good performance in reducing heat loss and condensation in your home. You can pick up a kit from hardware stores and online shops.
  2. Draw curtains at dusk to keep the day’s heat in. The best curtains have a separate lining and are fitted close to the window, wide enough to generously overlap the window frames at the sides and long enough to touch the floor.
  3. If you own a dehumidifier, run it when you are heating a room to warm the room up faster. Dehumidifiers work best in warm rooms and all the electricity they use gets released as heat – so your heater needs to do less work.
  4. If you run a heat pump, clean the filters regularly.  Heat pumps clogged with dirt and dust do not run efficiently.
  5. Stop draughts by making sure your windows and doors fit their frames. Use draught stopping tape around windows and doors. Make or buy door snakes to keep cold draughts sneaking under doors.

Media enquiries:


No April Fool as IDEA workers go on strike – E tū

Source: Etu Union

Hundreds of IDEA members turned out across the Country on 1 April standing loud and proud for a better deal at work.

From Northland to Southland member grabbed picket signs, braved torrential rain and made headlines across the country.

With paid stop-work meetings coming up in the week of the 15  April, another strike could be on the  cards.


NZ tech leader to speak at international summit in the Netherlands


Auckland – NZTech CEO Graeme Muller has been invited to speak at a major tech event in Europe later this year as interest grows in New Zealand’s transition to a leading digital economy.

He is speaking at the BTG conference in Noordwijk, the Netherlands, and will also attend the Global Entrepreneur Summit in the Hague in early June.  A number of New Zealand tech firms have also applied to attend the Hague conference which is invite only for the top 2000 start ups in the world.

Muller heads NZTech which is a non-governmental organisation that works between government and industry to help accelerate New Zealand’s digital prosperity. Technology is New Zealand’s fastest growing and third biggest industry.

He will be sharing experience from more than a decade of technology forecasting and recent years of policy advisory to discuss what it is taking for New Zealand to be a truly connected digital nation.

At Noordwijk he will share insights from recent research and from the Digital Nations 2030 Summit in Auckland last year which was an international event that brought together governments of many of leading digital nations in the world.

“The Digital Nations summit was the biggest and most important international tech conference ever to be staged in New Zealand and is helping pave the way for faster advances in the Kiwi economy.

“The Netherlands is an exciting and highly relevant country for New Zealand just now. They identified a decade ago that food production would be critical for the Netherlands, and that with the right investment would enable a major export industry.

“While in the Netherlands, I plan to meet the team from Food Valley  and other leaders in agritech to learn more about their transition to a global leader in agritech and to build bridges for investors, entrepreneurs and market opportunities,” Muller says.

For further information contact NZTech chief executive Graeme Muller on 021 02520767 or Make Lemonade editor-in-chief Kip Brook on 0275 030188

Photo: NZTech chief executive Graeme Muller