MUST READ – Guest Blog: Kyle MacDonald – Financial Abuse



Many people rightly assume that “domestic violence”, or “intimate partner violence” as we now tend to call it, is defined by physical assault.  But as anyone who has worked in this field knows that is only one of the many ways that is is possible to exert power and control over your intimate partner, and it isn’t uncommon for physical violence to not be that frequent, but for power and control to permeate every aspect of the relationship.  Controlling who she sees, where she goes, what she wears.  Isolating her from her family, her friends.  Yelling, intimidating and verbal abuse.

As well as controlling the finances, including her income, and using money as a way to exert power and control.  You want to make sure she keeps her mouth shut? To make sure she doesn’t have the resources to speak out, and get away? Don’t let her have any money, and threaten to take it away if she steps out of line.

It’s ironic then that aggressively controlling funding has become such an entrenched and consistent way for this Government, John Key’s Government, to silence dissent in the NGO and academic sectors.

The inclusion of gagging clauses in contracts has now become common place, and the attempted closure of the Problem Gambling Foundation for being too political, despite health advocacy being one of it’s roles, is a matter of public record.

But towards the end of last year we all saw how the White Ribbon Trust was unwilling to speak out, in any form, against one of its ambassadors participating in a prison rape joke on The Rock radio station.  That ambassador was of course John Key.

We now know why they didn’t: Power and control.

Just this week a story ran in the Herald, outlining the very precarious financial position of the White Ribbon Trust.  This story was based on an Official Information Request by a member of the public, and makes clear that the funding for the White Ribbon campaign has been slashed, and that any further future Government funding is contingent upon White Ribbon fund raising, dollar for dollar, what the Government gives.

TDB Recommends

Simply put White Ribbon were unable to do their job, and censure one of their ambassadors because their funding position is so precarious that it could be cut altogether at the end of this funding year.

Now I would even let you call me paranoid if this wasn’t such an established pattern by this Government of gagging and silencing  dissenting points of view, whether it be in the health sector, the voluntary welfare sector or academia.

In a survey from 2013, of over 90 organizations, 60% of voluntary and community workers agreed that if you speak publicly about “bad news” you will lose your funding.

It honestly sickens me that debate and participatory democracy continues to be so actively stifled in this country.  And the irony that John Key’s government would use the very same tactics an abuser would to silence dissent, and even with the very agency tasked with speaking out about abuse and violence, is frankly terrifying.

It’s also true that this Government is “talking tough” on the problem of domestic violence.  Just today the Minister of Justice, Amy Adams, published an opinion piece on the Stuff:

“As communities and individuals, we all have a part to play.
Together we can make a real difference to victims and break the cycle of violence within families and across generations.  The home should be a safe place for all.  Help us make that a reality. Join in and stand up against family violence.”  (Click here for the whole article)

So if John Key refuses to do the decent thing and resign as an ambassador for the White Ribbon Campaign, then he could at least put his money where his Governments mouth is, and guarantee its funding.

Time to stand up John.


Kyle MacDonald is a psychotherapist and blogger from Auckland.  Action Station is currently running a petition asking the Government to increase funding for sexual and domestic violence services in NZ.  To see the petition click here and to see Kyle’s regular blog “Off the Couch  click here.


    • I tend to think of it differently. I think of in terms of the government declaring war on the people of NZ, and especially of declaring war on the next generation.

      Practically all government policy is now directed towards making it easier for corporations and opportunists (only those in The Club, of course) to loot and pollute and exploit, and making it harder for truth-tellers to get their messages out.

      Once governments or corporations (is there any difference?) manage to gain full control of the Internet and carry out censorship and blocking of access we will be totally f**ked and the fascists will feel a lot more secure.

      That feeling of security will be illusory, of course, because the economy and the environment are collapsing.

  1. An absolute hallmark of this government has been its relentless control over bad news and this includes government departments. Step out of line and there’s:

    Funding cuts (Problem Gambling Foundation and on the list goes).
    Frozen funding (RNZ, various major government departments)
    Smear campaigns and character assassinations (frequently baseless, just ask David Cunliffe) and the constant threat thereof, (frequently used by National), that leads to amongst many other toxic results: Ruined careers.

    And then there is the more proactive ways of “doing business”;

    Use of taxpayer money to buy media (Mediaworks).
    Use of taxpayer money to grant contracts to those who will bring bad news but whom they have next to no control over.
    Use of shadowy fund-raising techniques where one hand washes the other with donors buying what they want on a quid pro quo basis (Cabinet club, anonymous fund-raiser dinners etc).
    Strong contacts in the corporate media that will publish little if any criticism and will rampantly promote propaganda, (name any daily TV show, newspaper or radio station in NZ almost bar none)
    Blanket refusal to honour the OIA.
    National party funded lobby groups and internet media (Taxpayer Union, Kiwiblog etc)

    Bad news is also managed by pure lies, defusion, distraction and constant polling and focus groups to find ways to polish turds.

    All of which leaves National looking unnaturally competent, steady and successful, even though it is in its 3rd term. But while the life-like facade behind the scenes it’s getting ugly because like any corruption of any system it also is highly corrosive to a nation, especially the longer it goes on.

    Hence Thursdays lawful but forceful protests, Joyce getting dildoed, Key getting booed and jeered at Ratana and the Rugby League 9’s must scare the shit out of National becasue they have NO control and it goes international too. Just a taste of things to come!

  2. @ Michael Morris. Good point.

    Hekia Parata

    Judith Colins

    Paula Bennett

    Anne Tolly

    Ruth Richardson

    Jenny Shipely and so on and so on….

    All, abusive bullies creating/have created the dysfunctional citizens of the New Zealand / Aotearoa of tomorrow.

    Abuse isn’t exclusive to men.

  3. ‘Own the media and you own the public mind’ – that’s been a very successful tactic of this government particularly, over the last few decades.
    The dumbing-down of MSM is appalling.
    Even more appalling is that most journos in MSM have allowed themselves to be manipulated by the government. Makes you wonder what they’re being taught in journalism schools – and by whom and why!
    Thankfully we have some journos who are prepared to stand against the spin, the con-artists and the liars. They’re the real journos; courageous people who one day, let’s hope, will be recognised for their stand, incisive questioning, and truthful reporting.
    Meantime we still have TDB and a few others who have not (yet!) been bought off.

  4. It would almost seem ,… that by use of social media at a grass roots level , representatives of the various fields ie : academics, voluntary groups, schools need to have a national summit.

    And that by careful examining of the issues, note comparing , and development of a plan of action to deliberately and vigorously politicize this predicament. We have all known and sensed what is going on and the various groups hit the headlines every few months…

    But it is sheer numbers that are needed in a unified and organised fashion – as well as a ten point plan , a list of grievances , – and legal resources.

    Easier said than done. But I cant see it happening any other way. We who are old enough well remember the bellicose arrogance of the Roger Douglas, Jenny Shipley and Ruth Richardson years.

    Mass demonstration after mass demonstration of farmers, medical representatives, students, unions , the elderly with means testing…. the length and breadth of this country in all major city’s …, with many , many more groups affected by the sheer belligerence of the neo liberal agenda.

    The colossal gall and conceit of those politicians was beyond believable. And now that the damage has been done, this is the end result.

    Minimization of issues by a bought and paid for media , – which leads to gagging through the use of threats of funding cuts , and a general air of resignation by the public that they are powerless to effectively deal with a govt that will not listen – but only threaten them.

    Well ,…there is a way… and previous generations found their way through it. They faced the same predicament of an obstinate govt ,- simply that the issues were different. But any govt is susceptible to a critical mass point of protest, and particularly with an upcoming election year.

    The last thing they want is large scale public dissent and embarrassment.

    And therein is the very point of weakness for them. There is an election in 2017. In fact more like two years.

    A whole year and more to mobilize , organize , seek common ground and pressure a govt into backing down. Think of yourselves as a lobby group who has every right – if this is still a democracy – to not only pressure the govt – but also to ADVISE them on how funding is to be allocated PROPERLY, – not just Willy – Nilly as THEY see fit , but by through Industry Standards recommendations drawn up by that Industry.

    That’s what a govt is there for – to govt – and who for … their whims?


    They are elected and PAID their wages by the PUBLIC to execute the Public’s will and needs – not push some ideological bandwagon for their own pet projects.

    Unity is the only way forward as UNITY ,…. is the very Achilles heel of neo liberalism.

  5. I am glad to read that Kyle is in the know about what goes on in this country. It goes through all levels of the administration of government ministries and agencies, down to the ordinary worker, down to the clients they are supposed to serve.

    Why do people still wonder and get angry about the “beneficiary bludgers” when they hear stories about threats of solving issues with guns? Most do not think and do not ask questions.

    Such things used to be unknown of years ago, but so many people get pushed to the brink these days, they despair and react in anger and without reason, as they no longer have control and are isolated, are despised and marginalised in a rotten society that is now based on intimidation, lies and endless division.


Comments are closed.