Media Releases

Social impact bonds a solution looking for a problem

3 June 2015

The New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) Mental Health Nurses Section fears the Government’s new social impact bonds is a way to privatise mental health services and abandon its responsibility to fund public health and social services for our most vulnerable New Zealanders.

“We know that privatising mental health services and reducing people to “targets” and “outcomes” is not the way to create a nation where people with mental illness are supported to recover. Forcing those with mental health issues into work is not going to help.” says Gina Soanes, Chair of the Mental Health Nurses Section.
“Social bonds will not allow contracted services to provide holistic care – will private companies with an employment target to achieve care about an individual’s housing needs, for example?”
“It seems the Government is hell bent on dismantling our public health care system one sector at a time.”
“Another question we have is about money. Social impact bonds do not reduce the cost to government and they do not improve the delivery of public services. Privatising mental health services may well end up costing Government more than providing the same services itself. We predict private investors will only see social bonds as a viable business investment if they are guaranteed to receive a higher rate of profit than they could get elsewhere,” says Soanes.
“The Mental Health Nurses Section believes services for those experiencing mental illness are best provided by the state, and that effective prevention programmes across many sectors is the way to achieve the right health and social outcomes including saving health dollars in the long term.”
“We urge the Government to think again.”

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