BREAKING: Mike King hands back his NZOM Medal because of a lack of progress on suicide


Mike King has just pst this n his facto pag


Dear Primeminister

Tomorrow is the 3rd anniversary of Gumboot Friday and to celebrate I’ll be walking 100,000 meters in Gumboots around the Auckland Domain to raise $100k that will go towards our $5 million goal.

If we reach our goal it will provide over 37,000 free non stigmatising counselling sessions for our kids. I say non stigmatising because under the current system the only way young people can get free counselling is to go to a doctor, be diagnosed mentally ill, and then go on a long waiting list before being met by an often burnt out mental health professional.

TDB Recommends

As a mother, can you imagine being subjected to this in the future? Sadly this is the reality faced by thousands of kiwi mums and dads every year as they try to get help for their distressed children.

Everyday I am contacted by families begging for help after being told their children don’t qualify for counseling because they are not suicidal enough.

Every week I am on planes flying around the country meeting with distressed families whose children have been discharged from hospital after a suicide attempt with little or no support, often without even seeing a psychiatrist.

Three years ago I remember standing on a podium with you singing your parties praises as you announced that you were spending $1.9b on mental health.

As long as I live I will never forget that day. There was such a euphoric feeling in the air, full of optimism and hope and I believed with all my heart things were about to change, finally we had a government who cared.

Three years on I feel like we have let everybody down

Tomorrow also marks the anniversary of the letter I received informing me that I had been made a member of the NZOM for services to mental health and suicide prevention.

While I was honoured at the time, it no longer sits comfortably with me. Every day I look at myself in the mirror and ask “how can you wear this title when things haven’t changed and so many are still suffering?”

The truth is I can’t. I know none of this is your fault Prime Minister and I know you truly care about our children but the system is broken and it seems to our most vulnerable kiwis and their families that no one is trying to fix it.

On that basis I stand with those families and with great sadness I will be returning my NZOM Medal to Dame Patsy Reddy before she leaves office.

I know this is the last thing you needed to hear but I can no longer stand idly by hoping things will change and knowing they won’t.

To paraphrase Martin Luther King “for incompetence to prevail all it needs is for good people to do nothing”

Yours sincerely
Mike King

There have been rumours that Mike’s fury at the lack of real progress was building, that it has reached this level is an extraordinary failure.


Increasingly having independent opinion in a mainstream media environment which mostly echo one another has become more important than ever, so if you value having an independent voice – please donate here.

If you can’t contribute but want to help, please always feel free to share our blogs on social media


  1. Why is Mike addressing his letter to the Prime Minister then saying further down “I know none of this is your fault”, wasn’t it Harry Truman who had the slogan on his desk “the buck stops here”.

  2. Mike is an honourable man to be congratulated.
    Think exonerating Jacinda Ardern from any blame though is over generous.
    She is the Prime Minister who committed herself personally to this cause and Mike says nothing has changed or is likely to change.
    Not wishing to raise the ire of other contributors but isn’t this just another example of our Prime Minister promising a lot but delivering very little.

  3. Mike King’s passion and commitment is to be commended. By returning this award he is shining the hypocrisy of this government . Housing/ transport /mental health and our health system generally / increase in police numbers / the enviroment the list goes on of broken promises. They have been in power for 4 years now so the excuse of blaming National is wearing thin and now they do not have the excuse of NZ First holding them back. Like Mike says it is not fair to blame one person but there does not seem to be any pressure for the change on our civil servants from the Ministers

    • Trevor this is a sad day and I must admit I completely agree with you. As usual your comments are measured unlike many who lean right and make personal insults. As you are aware I work in mental health.There are a multitude of reasons contributing to the issue at hand, overpopulation rendering any financial input useless, i.e. not enough to even catch up and yes years of under funding is the root cause. Not enough employed in mental health that are survivors or those prepared to put themselves first. Most clinicians are working over capacity in client numbers. So now, at this very moment, I believe the Government needs to upset the masses on the right and borrow and spend billions on mental health, not physical health as this can go hand in hand. As mentioned, if this Government is to veer hard left to make substantial gain they will still be pilloried by person insults, socialist etc etc, yourself excluded.

      • Thank you Bert. Those helpng the fight to battle depression are the hero’s to me that have seen me through some dark days over the last few years as I have battled depression. I went to see Mike in Chch at a shopping Mall . I was a bit on edge as I thought there may be just a few of us and we would stand out but there were over 200 people . I bet that would not have happened 10 years ago before John Kirwin and Mike came out to say it was ok,to admit you have a mental problem
        . My councillor tells me one of the most annoying thinks is that the money allocated by the government is not getting to those that need it . Perhaps you know more about that situation

        • The attitudes of a few at management/ governance level are foremost about job security, therefore not all money’s allocated go to those who need it. Too many are entrenched into the “system” and are happy to instruct others to “do more with less” whilst those in need are the ones who suffer and staff burnout results in resignations.
          There are fantastic staff who care first and foremost, unfortunately there are many at a governance level who aren’t and believe their titles demand respect. These people are solely responsible for where the funding goes and this is the dilemma .
          There are no easy solutions whilst these people hold life time positions but is why I attempt to fight the good fight.
          Stay strong Trevor.

    • Yes, Trevor. I am in awe of Mike King, and have huge respect for him, and wish him well from the bottom of my heart. The contrast between a man who truly cares about what is happening to our young people, and that dreadful elected little representative from Dipton writing them all off as useless, is stark. Key and English and their destructive ilk grabbed so- called honours for helping bring about the current tragic situation. That’s sick.

      Mike’s public gesture as a man of honour will hopefully jolt good people into thinking about what the government should be doing, and communicating this to them, if they’re listening.

  4. I admire Mike’s commitment and down-to-earth approach to this problem; but why do we keep believing that pouring more money into a broken system will somehow magically improve the sad statistics? Until society accepts the pace of life in the ‘modern’ world has destroyed family & friend support structures we will only see an ever increasing need for counselling services that no government can ever adequately fund.

  5. Good on you Mike, the only person with the guts to say it like it is and throw that useless bauble of imperialism right back where it came from!
    The mental health system is broken, is designed to be broken and is run in a no man’s land between Corrections, Health Boards and of course the nz police. There is a court system run within the walls of the mental health units which determines whether you are fit to return to the community and you can be allocated a community lawyer or attempt to prove your own case.
    The mental health units are run on a secular basis and highly unlikely to allow a chaplain to visit, the cutlery, drinking cups and bread and butter plates are all plastic or polystyrene one use items showing no care for the environment and ECG is still in regular use.
    The beds and rooms are basic at best and the pillows are covered in plastic so you can’t sleep very well even if you are lucky enough to get one.
    In the ward you are mostly ignored or rounded up for activities, you can smoke if you go out with a scheduled walking train, your medication can be changed without notice, your personal property can be confiscated and lost and you are basically at the mercy of the orphan child of the health system, a child abducted by the pharmaceutical lobby and force-fed all sorts of mind-gut fuckery manufactured by goblins and orcs.
    The fallout from the ludicrously named anti-psychotics is harsh and hard. Loss of memory, co-ordination, self-respect, massive weight gain, disorientation, sleep disturbance, and worst of all, akathesia, which immediately pegs you as psychotic. The psychiatrists all stress the negative, play you like a macaque (first question is always,”now do you have any thoughts of self harm?”…well, until you mentioned it….) and you are really at the mercy of whatever quack has managed to falsify their way into a white coat and draw a salary.
    The traumatisation of young humans begins early on in life, teachers and parents at schools can be incredibly unkind to any disadvantaged or unprotected child, beginning the cycle of “no one to turn to”, something we all need, really, a kind smile or a helping hand.
    I do believe a lot more money could be thrown at mental health services, in the first instance to pay the nurses , orderlies, cleaners and cooks who do a wonderful, underpaid job for little or no thanks, pay them properly. Also, the health sector finances could potentially be re-prioritised….I mean:

    Kia kaha, Mike, kia kaha, kia koa, kia matatau

  6. So what if he hands back his ‘medals’, he’s not the only one to do that, facts are this shitty neo liberal run country needs a boot up the arse big time, Mikes only added to there score, but many before him have campaigned tirelessly.

    Good on him though, but he’s a lone voice among many NGO’s ( EG : Salvation Army, Presbyterian social support) who have been saying the same thing. And along with them,- even the IMF and OECD as well. So hes not alone.

    The basic message is this :


    • I’ll soften this a a little, I’m ‘Protestant’ , but here is a beautiful song by the Catholic nun, Sister Janet Mead. Her voice is wonderfully beautiful, her Christian faith all so evident. Her motives were good and proper , why cannot we all be more like her in attitude…

      Sister Janet Mead ~ The Lord’s Prayer ~ 1973

      As a ten year old out in the bush in the 1970s I rejoiced with that song when it came on 1ZB, my heart lept with joy. Gods creation , out there in the bush, and wonderful people like Catholic Sister Janet Mead despite my Salvation Army (mothers side who is still here at 94 years of age) upbringing.

      The truth will set you free !!!

    • @ WK. And by association FUCK THE BANKS !
      The bankster makes it almost impossible to most human beings to function healthily.
      Tax the banksters and return that money into our society by way of a three day weekend, a basic universal income and return what were once our taxes paid for assets and amenities back to us.
      Radical change requires radical action and the only ones to lose out would be the greedy, foreign owned banksters.

  7. I was surprised Mike accepted the medal in the first place, to me the honours system is a pacifier and an exclusive club membership. Mike is a prominent voice in the community regarding metal health and accepting a gong for his works in my view was compromising, pleased to see he’s handed it back, for it’s worth nothing,.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.