Hold on – National cut suicide helpline to give contract to Bill English’s wife?!?


As if the news that National were cutting funding to one of our largest suicide help lines at a time the suicide rates are spiking wasn’t bad enough, it turns out the contract has actually gone to Bill English’s wife!

PM’s wife on board of organisation that won million-dollar suicide prevention contract

An organisation that recently won a million-dollar government contract has dismissed speculation that the presence of the Prime Minister’s wife on the board was a factor.

The Ministry of Health announced LeVa as the “new, preferred supplier” for national suicide prevention training in March this year, ending a 10-year contract with Lifeline.

The switch, reported by the Herald yesterday, prompted advocates who work in the mental health sector to note that Dr Mary English, a GP in Wellington, was on LeVa’s board.

However, LeVa chief executive Dr Monique Faleafa told the Herald this morning that the new programme was an evidence-based international approach and English had not even read the proposal yet.

Oh come on, Mary didn’t tell Bill she was going for a major new suicide funding proposal? Bill had no idea? The officials deciding on the funding didn’t know she was Bill’s wife?


With her long, long, long anti-abortion stance, homophobic stance, anti-feminist health platform stance, I’m highly suspicious of anything that the incredibly religious Dr Mary English touches and a new ‘evidence-based international approach’ to suicide sounds like the double speak private companies use to hide moralistic right wing ideology masquerading as social policy.

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Gutting one of NZs biggest suicide counselling lines at a time of spiking suicide to give the contract to Bill English’s wife isn’t just ‘bad optics’ it’s a lack of perspective that screams arrogance at such a frequency that it shatters the eyeballs in their sockets.

The entitlement of these people is unbelievable.


  1. Definitely a bad look.

    Have any of the 5 women, including Mary English, been asked if their likely to have children in the near future that may impact on their job?

    Just had to throw that in!

    Nepotism or corruption? Take your pick.

  2. The real problem is her whole outlook on life issues, and therefore on the stance of the Company that would have her ‘onboard’.

    This is one of the issues with a number of prominent Community groups, they have agendas that do not ‘fit’ with broader society, let alone the very groups of people they are entrusted to help.

  3. Unbelievable… this MUST be fake news! Hang on… this is National… totally believable! Corrupt to the core.

  4. …and who created the socioeconomic stress forces that have created the suicide epidemic in New Zealand in the first place?

    …youth and Maori youth in particular, as well as the very elderly are at greatest risk…these are people who should be cherished and nourished and valued in a caring and compassionate society

    New Zealand society is not a healthy place under Nactional

  5. surely its the christian thing to do.
    and if you want to take your life cause its just to hard, just pray it all away.
    see better now. just go find fucking jaizus and yer good.

  6. Whats the bet this story doesn’t get serious airtime.

    Its funny how corruption and patronage are perfectly acceptable when it comes to the National parties friends and families and don’t see anything wrong with it.

    Made even more deplorable in this case because it concerns suicide.

    They make me want to heave.

  7. This is just silly. There is a lot that is wrong with the National govt, specifically that they persist with very low taxes on the rich and lack of investment in poverty alleviation and infrastructure, but I do not for one moment think that Bill English is corrupt in the way that is implied here. His wife Mary English, whatever her views on abortion, is doing public service serving on the Le Va board, and although I have no specific knowledge or expertise in the area it is clear that our current youth suicide prevention services to date have so far have not had any impact on our persistently high rates. On that basis there is a prima facie case for awarding the contract to another provider.

    • Barry, despite what you say, it’s still pretty hard not to view Ms English’s involvement as a conflict of interest, nepotism, whatever you want to call it.

      There have been plenty of other instances of National Party ex-MPs, supporters, cronies etc being appointed to public orgaqnisations. It’s hard not to view this through a similar prism.

    • This is not the act of a sane government, it concerns me you think a tender process and a bit of paperwork from overseas justifies such extreme action.

      Here’s a prima facie case for you: We have the worst youth suicide rate in the world for decades precisely because of the lack of the laissez faire neoliberal packages English espouses. Before you take a plank away like lifeline you better be damn sure what you are replacing it with will do at least as well.

  8. The Nat govt see money in everything even preventing death.
    To be fair the new contract might be a new look at the situation.
    Have people looked into who is on Lifeline board .
    I believe Mary English had some imput into getting the contract, but does she have shares or any financial gain ?
    Is it a better Plan than Lifeline?all things should be considered before going all MSM on the subject.
    Not a good look though if it was kept secret
    and her connection through Bill English was used,We can hope it gets airtime to get the complete story.

  9. So ‘bad optics’ are a more important factor than looking empirically and factually at whether Leva might be more successful at cutting our world leading suicide rate than the status quo?

    Look at the facts before engaging in petty political partisanship on such an important matter.

  10. It’s the corporate name that worries me.

    “Lifeline” tells you in its name and history what it does. It has a positive ring to it.

    LeVa sounds more like the leader of an alien invasion force…

  11. Lifeline is being cut off at the knees and along with it, its junior version, Youthline. The names of these organisations are just about as familiar to us as Weetbix or Marmite. They have infinite experience and we need to support them, and hopefully the new Labour Government will see to it they survive.
    Meanwhile, allow me to plug a small effort to keep Youthline afloat
    Maybe you could have a rummage around the back of the couch and donate a dollar or two
    And if you are really generous, she is also heavily involved with the Yoga in Prisons Trust, they can always use a few bucks

  12. No other words for it, its corruption. Blatant nepotism and cronyism has been the way of the National government for the past 9 years.

  13. This is from their website-

    “Spirituality is a personal journey of transformation, hope and courage. Church elders and spiritual leaders are well placed to play an important role in preventing Pacific suicide. They can provide support, information and create new initiatives within the church”

    How is this evidence based?

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