Ardern, Martin harshly criticised over possible closure of residential children’s service

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern promised making it a priority to address ‘vulnerable children’, as has Minister for Children Tracey Martin. Both have been harshly criticised over the possible closure of a village providing services for vulnerable children in Roxburgh – this has been around as long as i can remember, it used to be called the Roxburgh Health Camp.

ODT add to the criticism: Not too late to keep promise

The Prime Minister stands accused of breaking a promise and there would seem some foundation in the accusation.

Labour campaigned on policies aimed at improving the lives of children and, once elected, the focus on social policy was heavy: pledges to end child poverty, provide affordable housing, change parts of the welfare system, improve health delivery, lift the incomes of the “working poor”.

The Stand Children’s Services Roxburgh children’s village — tasked with changing the lives of vulnerable children who have suffered trauma — is sadly familiar with the social and health ills Jacinda Ardern has pledged to fix.

The village’s possible closure, announced last month because of a shortfall in funding, flies in the face of the promise of social focus from Ms Ardern, and the Prime Minister and Minister for Children, Tracey Martin, came in for harsh criticism at a public meeting held in Roxburgh last week to try to stop the closure of the village.

The Labour-led Government said it was serious about the children of New Zealand, but instead had “fallen at the first fence”, Teviot Valley Community Board chairman Raymond Gunn said.

Ms Ardern has been conspicuously silent about the village, refusing to comment about its future, passing the buck instead to Mrs Martin.

Such silence smacked of a “guilty conscience”, Roxburgh staff member and New Zealand Public Service Association delegate Carol Hastie said.

The Roxburgh village helps 380 children a year, and they are some of the nation’s most vulnerable.Luckily, most people cannot imagine the kinds of trauma that means a child needs to be sent to an intensive, residential, wrap-around service such as the Stand children’s village.

But for the children who have ended up there, through no fault of their own, the village can literally change lives.

It has done for decades.

Southern social service agencies have said there is no equivalent to the residential Stand service for the children who need it.

Stand chief executive Dr Fiona Inkpen says if the Roxburgh village closes, children will suffer, and fall through the cracks.

But all are also reminding of the loss of 31 jobs in Roxburgh if the children’s village closes.

If it was in the Dunedin North electorate then Minister of Health David Clark may have more of an interest in it.

Perhaps this is a service that has been overlooked in funding guidelines. Ardern could front up and address this anomaly, but unfortunately she is getting a bit of a record for avoiding awkward issues.




  1. Grimm

     /  May 14, 2018

    The job of government is entirely about trade offs. But these fools campaigned as if there were none.

    • alloytoo

       /  May 14, 2018

      Socialists normally don’t run out of other people’s money quite so quickly.

      • David

         /  May 14, 2018

        They have been gifted a rather large surplus but looks like they re gifted everything to NZ First.

        • Kitty Catkin

           /  May 14, 2018

          Even the name ‘village’ makes it sound like somewhere that is a good place to be. I can see why they changed it from ‘health camp’. I dimly remember health stamps.

  2. Gezza

     /  May 14, 2018

    This government stands guilty of so much hypocrisy already it’s breathtaking.

  3. admiralvonspee

     /  May 14, 2018

    What is the most important thing in the world?
    It is the people, the people, the people.
    – Jacinda Ardern

    Nek minnit.

    • Kitty Catkin

       /  May 14, 2018

      Nek cliche…that one doesn’t mean any more whoever says it.

  4. David

     /  May 14, 2018

    Given her campaign rhetoric this should be measured against the exponential increase in Peters budget for aid to the Pacific which didnt seem to be in anyones campaign speeches.

  5. David

     /  May 14, 2018

    I believe we made a large donation to the Clinton Foundation last week which perhaps could have kept Roxburgh open for a year or two.

  6. PDB

     /  May 14, 2018

    To be fair to Ardern the whole country has to make some sacrifices, including those children in need, nurses, poor people who have to drive a car to work in Auckland, and people who struggle to afford a visit to their doctor in order to stay on course for the main prize which will in time solve all New Zealand’s woes and make this country great again.

    The new embassy in Stockholm – Let’s do this!

    • Gezza

       /  May 14, 2018

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  May 14, 2018

        She looks better and more professional without her hair hanging all over her face; she’s not a teenager anymore and shouldn’t try to look like one.