In defence of Mike King and I AM HOPE


I know, I know, I know.

It doesn’t look good does it?

Gumboot charity’s links to National questioned after $24m funding boost

    • On Wednesday it was announced the I Am Hope charity founded by Mike King will be funded $24m over four years to provide counselling services.
    • The now-chair of I Am Hope donated $7,000 to the National Party in 2023, and $20,000 in 2020.
    • Board member and recently-departed CEO Troy Elliott sought National’s candidacy in Botany in 2019.
    • Questions are being asked about the charity’s close ties with National, and whether there was enough transparency over the contract process.

This Government is so corrupt and dominated by donor interests I fear we are throwing the Mike King out with the bath tub here.

- Sponsor Promotion -

I’ve known Mike for about 20years. His passion and drive to respond meaningfully to the pandemic of suicide is breathtaking. The grief he wades through on a weekly basis from Whānau who reach out to him at their most raw and painful requires a strength and courage beyond my reckoning.

He is at the coalface of suicide and his voice matters. The systemic failures he sees are a reality that is constantly hidden by bureaucrats who desperately sanitize our suicide statistics.

Here was King in 2022…

…Mike is hated by the Wellington Bureaucracy for highlighting their incompetence and making them look like the callous wankers they are.

Mike is offering counselling services at a fraction of the price that the Wellington Bureaucracy offers and because he’s done such an excellent job of exposing their vested interests, he will never ever receive any money for his proposals because that’s what happens when you cross the Wellington Bureaucracy.

That’s where the friction point lies, Mike is offering a service cheaper than the State wants to fund with real world contact to help people talk the issues out before they get to the suicide flash point and as anyone attempting to access mental health services know, there is barely any functionality in the mental health area.

From the State’s point of view, half of those who commit suicide never reach out for help anyway so how on earth can they spend money attempting to save lives who don’t even bother to access services in the first instance.

For everyone else, that argument is callous.

Daniel McLauchlan is one of the greatest political columnists in New Zealand and I hate that he is making me finally buy a subscription to the listener so I can read him weekly.

He’s so good he has finally made me pay money to the fucking Listener.

Daniel’s latest crusade on attacking the Wellington Professional Managerial Class raises important questions on how the State should regulate itself during Late Stage Capitalism that the Political Left need to look at…

Unjarndycing the State

The dogmatic political left invests its faith in the bureaucratic state; the dogmatic right trusts oligopolistic free markets – leaving New Zealand with crumbling infrastructure and corruption

…the Political Left have allowed the self-interested Public Service and the Professional Managerial Class to push self interested virtue signals rather than structural change and increased capacity of the State!

Daniel talks about the lack of actual competition to the self-serving Public Service and to that effect Māori Social Service Providers could easily become the competition the self serving Public Service needs while building State capacity with a Ministry of Green Works.

The lack of results from a self serving Public Service riddled with Corporate Consultants could finally be challenged by Māori Social Service Providers that treat everyone who comes, but in a Māori cultural setting.

That development can drive the self serving Public Service to be far more responsive and force actual results out of them.

It’s allowing regulated capitalism to inject the dynamic of competition while building State capacity.

Imagine a scenario where Iwi joined forces with the State to create a 3rd Supermarket Operator with a focus on lower costs to customers, better work conditions for workers and better prices for suppliers.

Or expanding existing community health groups that are open to the entire community but run within Kaupapa Māori.

Same with Māori schools.

You can generate the competitive friction Capitalism requires while building up the State, not denigrating it.

Mike King’s charity is an example of being able to create those competitive advantages that generate greater access for people needing counselling.

We may not like the way the Right have gerrymandered the process so they have a media coup to mask how awful the rest of their social policy is, but that’s politics over the end result and the end result is more people in need will get immediate access to counselling and when you consider how damaged the entire mental health infrastructure is, that is a win for those in immediate need.

The horror of our suicide rate gives us a glimpse behind the ‘she’ll be right’ facade of our culture and the dark torment of an alpha male macho mental landscape that is terribly fragile.

Our under funded social infrastructure, our ‘me first’ consumerism, our 30 years of neoliberal mythology, our disconnection from one another, our untreated pain, our lack of hope from grinding poverty in a first world country, our damaged masculinity, the intergenerational consequences of colonialism, our unspoken rage culture, our inability to express emotion beyond anger – all of this demands questions we don’t want to hear as a society and the shame of suicide continues to hide and smother any healing.

In a society that has no religious faith and all the cultural maturity of a can of coke, the bonds which keep us attached are frail and disconnected. In our fetishisation of individualism we have lost the central part of the human condition –  connection.

We have traded in our interwoven threads of whanau, friendship and kin for a race where no one wins.

The reason we can’t talk about suicide is because we can’t stand to talk about the dark treacle of self hate and loneliness at the core of consumer culture. We don’t dare confront the hollowness of our existence on these far flung crags of rock for fear of what we will reveal about ourselves.

Damaged individuals competing for a self identity too fragile for the storms and tempests of life.

Thanks to neoliberalism, we are further from each other than ever before.

Look at the manner in which our suicide rates jumped after the neoliberal reforms of the 1980s, where we moved away from the communal towards the individual…

…we huddle frightened on these lonely rocks at the end of the world and slowly one by one slip off into the swallowing dark. Until we are prepared to confront many of the individualism-over-all myths and rebuild our tattered communities, our suicide rate will remain reminding us of our whispered deceptions.

We refuse to ask the why of suicide because we are too frightened to know the answer is a reflection of the shallow and lonely community we have become. Instead we reel off a list of phone numbers whenever we dare mention suicide as if that means a fucking thing.

We are broken and no one wants to admit that.

Mike King swims in this pain constantly and it has hurt him as much as it has hurt us which explains his anger at the Wellington Bureaucracy.

Damn him for giving the Right a publicity win, damn the Right for a joke process but don’t damn his intentions and outcomes. Mike has stood beside too many coffins at too many funerals for too many suicides to denigrate his mana the way some on the left have embarked upon.

Cool your jets comrades, the bigger enemies are National’s donors, not their virtue signals towards suicide.


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  1. Labour have scored a massive own goal with their claims of corruption. So many people respect Mike King that to come out an insinuate that he was been given assistance due to some type of political favouritism beggars belief.

    • All kudos to King BUT consider the full story from a vulnerable young client perspective for whom this is supposed to be  about who’s left out there last week still with complex issues.

      AND the fallout is already happening.

      Other support agencies, those out there doing the same service for FREE for years , have been contacted by individual Gumboot Friday therapists to ask if they can pass King’s vulnerable client on to another therapist.

      These kids have done their MAXIMUM TWO talking SESSIONS with Gumboot Friday @ $ 140 per session paid to the therapist and as is the case Pandora’s Box has been opened and these  kids are left hanging in powerless situations that led them to therapy in the first place !!!!

      Understand that already existing out there ARE NGO’s and charitable organisations working with kids AND working with a high degree of collaboration with other agencies including schools and whole family support to put wrap around services in place. A kid is not an Island, nor after an isolated chat capable of changing the situation outside that is harming them 24/7.

      You can NOT play with kids’ this way, it’s high risk and UNETHICAL.

      Mental health of young people is complex and not just an introductory chat then a sorry ‘ we’ve finished ‘. And then, like the kid last week, these kids start all over again with another therapist AND still have the child do those same mandatory introductions all over again.

      It’s the counselling PROCESS of ” I am Hope ” prior that was under the spotlight for funding – consent, risk to child, efficacy, no follow up or support, SAFE processes etc.

      Eg. Was a kid in a household that has the perpetrator of their neglect or abuse living there too, SAFE ?
      These multi- faceted problems of kids will not be served by TWO chats let alone being effective suicide prevention.

    • Scoop were not as charitable as TDB in their description of the political donations so there is some disagreement over this matter. Any political decision is going to have varying degrees of reception depending on the political views of those affected so as long as all information is available is about the best we can hope for.

  2. There’s no defending that haircut.

    I didn’t get Kings claim of Labour hypocrisy because they gave his charity 600k? Is he implying a Labour donor was part of his charity back then? I assume that would have to be the case?

    • You seem to find it hard to accept any brick bats aimed at Labour however just .Nationals money to Lifesaving and I am Hope should be acknowledged. Labour talked up their input to mental health but failed to delivery the goods.

      • Trevor I was asking a question. Did that organisation donate to Labour? Why is that a dig at National? Do you know the answer? If Mike King has called them hypocrites is it on that basis?

    • @ jonzie.
      But that’s not Labour. I know, I know. It has the Chipkins and the banner and prior to that it had the teeth and hair but what ever that red raw, limp-dick thing is, it isn’t Labour.
      I can, however, tell you what it is. It’s national low carb. It’s Natzo Lite. Labour’s Pale Ale low cal non-alcoholic Natzo politics. It’s a little dribbling, dangly diddle and it’s blue-as Baby. Labour, right? Is National. Labour is National. Remember Labour from back in the day more than forty years ago? It had Unions, it had strong character, it had colour warmth and a heart beat? Remember that? Remember too how the natzo’s used to do their little best at inflaming the Labour adherents into deminishing Labour’s political influence? Remember that? Tormenting and teasing working people into striking then leaning into the crowds all spittle and bluff to blame the party that was trying to convince working people to stick together because, like any jungle, single, edible animals going it alone all independent like tended to become bowel motions of predators by sunset.
      Since roger’s neo-liberalism from back in about 1984 there has been NO labour. The Labour Party that people refer to isn’t that. I’m going to write very slowly for all you big round eye people who still ‘believe………’
      There. Is. No. Labour. Party. At. All. None. Nada. Nyet. Nope Sireee. What we do have is a few foreign owned banks and some dodgy nueveau riche sucking on the blood of working people.
      But I think I know what you’re doing @ Jonzie. You’re using logical fallacies to tailor-make protective lizard scales over a 40 year old neo-liberal crime wave. AO/NZ =14 multi-billionaires, 3118 multi-millionaires with after tax fortunes heading north of $50 million each and four now foreign owned banksters stealing $180.00 a second 24/7/365 making them the second most wealthy banks in the world. Second only to Canada in fact. Read about it. Here’s the link.
      NZ banks ‘some of the most profitable in the world’
      And because we have rapciously greedy, power mad foreign owned banks exploiting us, they, in turn will be connected to these fuckers which just might mean we’ll have the soverenty of our AO/NZ taken from us to become the panic room escape for the hyper riche for a worsening global climate shit storm which we aint seen nothing yet of. Oh, and world war three is also looming, let’s not forget that.
      Banksters / prime video
      The Men Who Stole The World
      They’re bankers, traders, investment funds executives. They forgot all about morality to make money. The entire world had to suffer the consequences of their actions. They impoverished countries, drove millions of workers into unemployment, and contributed to the rise in extremism. So who are they? And, after the 2008 crisis, were the real culprits condemned? Could there be another?

      • Phew. Once I got through that (I had to stop for a drinks break) I did have good laugh. You gotta admit, Labour that is not Labour with Chipkins who is a gonner, scored a huge own goal with this one….and with Coastguard and Lifesaving. All worthy local services that should be showered with the kind of money that Labour gave to ‘consultants’.

        • Just like National wouldn’t help fund Westpac rescue helicopters in 2015 that National gave to consultants, they are now funding a service one of their donors belongs too. But like the many many cuts National are producing now there will be long lasting damage.

  3. Instead of building more jails then spending 150k a year per inmate to keep them in lets spend that money from the time a kid enters college on wrap around services to prevent crime and suicide and all mental health issues .150K would allow 10k a year to be invested in every kid at my local college .That ,MS WILLIS ,is social investment for every single 12 and over kid in nz .But that will never happen because it is more important to fund landlords who are part of the problem .That money would fund 320000 kids .But fuck them its better to have them living in poverty and killing them selves and others so we have someone to kick down the road now we are progressing from kicking cans down the road .

    • As I regularly say – ‘What about the parents?’ And that’s not asking for the common response of a whack around the ear and shaming in the village square.

      This could be useful info from New York, USA about kids from diverse homes.
      In New Zealand/Aotearoa:
      I wonder if Bill English et al have bothered to read and understand and assist the NZ Hippy program. Apparently his social investment is to spirit children away like nightmare goblins.

      HIPPY Education Programme NZ – Great Potentials Foundation › hippy
      Home Interaction Programme For Parents And Youngsters. Enquire Online To Get Started.
      ‎Real Life HIPPY Stories · ‎The HIPPY Programme · ‎HIPPY Locations · ‎HIPPY Enquiry Form

      Ministry of Social Development › documents › spj12 › 1…
      by G BarHava-Monteith · Cited by 21 — The purpose of these interviews was to obtain information about the operation of the programme. Issues such as families

      HIPPY Programme
      Great Potentials Foundation › home-based-pre-sch…
      15 Jan 2021 — is a FREE home-based programme that helps parents to get their 2-5-year-old* child ready for success in education.

      The difference we make
      Great Potentials Foundation › the-difference-we-m…
      31 Jan 2020 — Annual Evaluation reports are produced for the HIPPY, MATES, and Family Service Centre programmes and copies are made available to all …

      2024 –

  4. Martyn – Mike King shamed the previous Labour Government by handing back his Queen’s Honour, and calling out its poor funding towards Mental Health across New Zealand.

  5. Not sure about Mike King. That is a lot of money to give someone. Where is the information,where are the outcomes,where is the proof that his processes work. In the beginning Mike King appeared the savior but in spite of his 600.000 dollars he still holds a grudge against Labour because they asked him to apply like every one else for funds. How can these clowns in government give 24 million to a charity just because for some reason Winston wanted it. We can’t fast track mental health it’s complicated especially where children are concerned and if anyone is messing with their heads it would be comforting to know that they actually know what they are doing no matter who it is

    • Agree and so why is necessary to defend Mike King? Shouldn’t this money be contested instead of given to a guy who is a professional mourner and assembly moral booster? This isn’t treatment and by his own admission believes that you can treat small problems before they become big with two sessions with councilor. Spend 60% of charity money in admin and has enough to donate to political parties? Do not get what is good about any of that.

    • Bob the first – Yes, and since it was a Westie, Mike King, that really effected Labour -due to Westie tending to vote Labour – not always.

    • What utter BS. What exposed Labour was being National with a red paint job. No Capital gains tax being a glaring example. Also banging on about law and order but not funding police properly ( staggeringly National are even worse on that one). The only difference is some people actually got slightly better wages, and they didn’t think climate change was a hoax. They messed up three waters and you can put money on that coming back in some form because the majority of councils are f’d. Simeon Brown is a disaster.

    • Bob you just agreed with what O’Toole wrote. Did you read the link? It doesn’t sound so clear cut. How many other worthy charities won’t have 24mil just thrown in their direction? Does the government throw money at the raft of charities picking up the slack for a range of health conditions? They are now talking about giving PHARMAC more money while under funding the very system that will deliver the therapies. How f’ing stupid. Of course that’s been an issue for successive governments but this lot are going further in exacerbating the problem.

  6. Mike King supports privatisation of healthcare. The guy needs to be called out for the right wing conservative he is.

    Note we never had issues with mental health provision before the health reforms of 1993/94.

    • That’s because we never had mental health provision, can’t have issues with something you don’t have.

      • that is a bloody lie .We had a very good mental health system before national tanked it to allow their need for privatisation of everything .We had a family member who was in the mental health system for twenty years but she was kicked off because the DHP had to meet though put targets of 1 person in 1 person out .The only way back in was to become a danger to someone by using violence .The family were left to look after her with absolutly no help .At the same time there was a dramatic rise in the number of homeless as these people were thrown on the street .So get your facts right before pushing your National bull shit

      • Yes, we had., That’s what those mental hospitals were for. Unfortunately they were closed down. While there was a lot of bad stuff going on, at least the patients were taken care of. Now look. They are given a precription and put out in the world to fend for themselves. In any case, King’s charity is focus on helping people who are a bit sad. Not actual mental health issues.

        • You are talking shit.Do u know what it is like to suffers mental breakdown.It is more than being sad and Mike deals with these.

          • The best solution to mental breakdown is to improve material conditions, ie wiping prescription charges, affordable housing, economic security, higher wages. Something you oppose

          • In two phone calls Trevor? I think King himself has said the charity was focused on smaller problems not becoming bigger ones. Is a mental breakdown on the small end of the scale?

      • Absolute nonsense. Do you think we don’t know who was behind deinstitutionalization? Enoch ‘Rivers of Blood’ Powell in the UK. Demented Ronald Reagan in the US. Honestly, I don’t know about NZ, but no doubt they were s**tbirds.

  7. Hmm, a charity we only hear about when it’s detrimental to Labour or beneficial to National. In a country swimmimng with dodgy charities with no oversight. Whose only form of outreach seems to be school assembly presentations.

    And most damning of all “I Am Hope” are still promoting that 1737 service, which is a service so bad that it’s basically the same thing as trying to kill people.

    The _ONLY_ people I’ve ever seen actually help anyone in this space are the Samaritans.

    • 24 million handed out with no information about where it is being taken from or who will be accountable .Will WILLIS take this out of the landlord subsidy she is about to hand out ,not fucken likely .No doubt she will take it from some one like the disabled or such like .

    • Just Some Troll -That is a false statement, irresponsible asf and dangerous

      • Lifeline 0800 543 354 or 09 522 2999 or free text 4357 (HELP).
      • Suicide Prevention Helpline 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOK0)
      • Youthline 0800 376 633 or free text 234
      • Samaritans 0800 726 666.
      • Need to talk? Free call or text 1737 any time for support from a trained counsellor.
      • Depression Helpline 0800 111 757 or free text 4202 (to talk to a trained counsellor about how you are feeling or to ask any questions).
      • Outline Aotearoa– 0800 688 5463 (0800 OUTLINE) provides confidential telephone support and online chat support between 6pm-9pm every day.
      • or email or free text 5626.
      •  What’s Up 0800 942 8787 (for 5–18 year olds). Phone counselling is available every day of the week, 365 days of the year, 11am–11pm. Online chat is available from 11am–10:30pm 7 days a week, including all public holidays.
      • Farmstrong:
      • Survivors Aotearoa free 24/7 in every region
      • Family Services 211 Helpline  for help finding (and direct transfer to) community based health and social support services in your area.
      • Yellow Brick Road
      • Are You OK 0800 456 450 family violence helpline.
      • Anxiety NZ 0800 269 4389 (0800 ANXIETY).
      • Shine – 0508 744 633 confidential domestic abuse helpline.
      • Safe to Talk – 0800 044 334 or free text 4334 for help to do with sexual harm. Available 24/7 and staffed by trained counsellors.
      • STRIVE Community Trust 092550144

      And many more agencies specifically located across NZ

  8. “We can’t talk about suicide”. The ACT Party wouldn’t shut up about suicide and actually enshrined it in legislation as your right to die. Is a deep depression with suicidal thoughts an example of unbearable suffering which makes individuals eligible for End of Life (ACT’s position) or intensive counselling (National’s position)?

    • Please don’t talk so unwisely eW. Right to die is not suicide. Some discernment needs to be present to talk about social issues. Please get it and think and count 10 before throwing your thoughts like cow pats. This is no game for careless prejudice and confabulation.

        • I happen to have concern for the values of freedom of the right to die being set into a good legal framework. And not to be bandied around in a sentimental or false religious tone. I think it is important to ask unthinking people not to trot out their prejudices. Referring to it in connection with suicide is not a wise approach. And people should have the right as citizens to live in a country that considers and honours the rights of its people to be treated fairly. Pity that we don’t but it is to be wished and not just sworn at when presented as an idea.

    • EW I would bet very good money that all the counselling in the world won’t cure a terminal illness. Don’t see the comparison myself.

  9. Defend Mike King as much as you like. I can’t. The figures speak for themselves.
    Around 40% of donations going to the ei cause. 60% getting sucked off by some nameless people enjoying the ride.
    My biggest gripe and it doesn’t only apply to Mike King, is people starting charities and turning them into a income making machine and then expecting Government to step in and fund them.
    Pisses me right off.
    This is just what has happened here.
    Charities are supposed to be run by people who care about their cause, not those who want to make a career of it.
    If they want money from government for a cause they should lobby the likes of the minister for mental health to get the money spent by the appropriate government department.
    You can’t tell me that the counsellors Mike King employs are sitting round waiting for him to call unless they can make more money from him than they can from government contracts or being in private practice. And yes he must be contracting them for a certain number of sessions regardless of whether they actually do these sessions.

    • Uncle Tom Catch up with the bunch don’t lag behind. The charities are supposed to cover government’s unwillingness to apply social assistance from the tax dollars they get. Charities put government to one side which is where they want to be and turn problems into business opportunities. You have to get more cynical Uncle Tom.

  10. Thank you. Well considered, thoughtful factual discourse here – apart from the usual suspects.

  11. I do not know where you get your information from but anyone looking for mental health support has know of Mike for years.After J K was brave enough to say he had k inn the black dog Mike put another face on the problem .People came to see the celebrity and then stayed to hear the message. For some reason Labour ignored him and many others working in the mental health field.They talked a big game but it was not backed up .
    1737 has helped people I know but it is only as good as the people it can attract and unfortunately there are failures .

    • Unfortunately the things that will fix mental health in this country, are things you oppose, which is why you want people fobbed off with a list of numbers to call.

  12. Graft, corruption, crony capitalism, donor benefits are all indicative of a political system that is broken and no longer fit for purpose

    So why do we keep voting for it ?

    The teams change but the laws of the game remain the same.

    When young people would rather die than participate in the game you know you’ve lost.

    You can’t lose if you don’t play. Don’t vote. Crash the system. Time for a reboot!!!

  13. Mike King is not the solution to our mental health crisis.

    He’s an advocate but his charity has its limitations. The counsellors are not qualified professionals and you only get 2 sessions.

    It’s all about ego with him and he also didn’t go through the application process and didn’t even apply last time and kicked up a fuss.

    He also can be really nasty and his behaviour on treasure island was disgraceful.

    His charity also supports his conspiracy theorists sons podcast so I do not want $24 million going towards this and would prefer it be spent keeping doctors and nurses in the country.

  14. Nobody doubts that funding I am hope is a good thing. The issue is why this charity and not the many other Mental Health services and Charities that apply through the proper chanels and procurement processes for funding, Is it because Mike King is more high profile and vocal when he doesn’t get what he wants.
    You have to feel for those other services quietly doing the hard Mahi on limited funds without the recognition, obviously they didn’t have the spare change to donate to the Nat Party.

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