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Synergia Report -Think Differently, Ministry of Social Development

Think Differently, led by the Ministry of Social Development, is a social change campaign that seeks to encourage and support a fundamental shift in attitudes and behaviours towards disabled people.

It works across community and national level activities to mobilise personal and community action, to change social attitudes and beliefs that lead to disabled people being excluded, and to increase people’s knowledge and understanding of disability and the benefits of inclusive communities. To support this work, Think Differently commissioned a review of the published and grey literature to understand the factors that cause disabled people to be socially excluded. The review is designed to inform the further development of the Think Differently Campaign. This summary focuses on understanding social exclusion and its key drivers. The methods and a more detailed analysis of the key concepts are provided in the main body of this report.



Chinese Community Asked to Reconsider Disability

Chinese Parents Support Service Trust (CPSST) is embarking a journey to ask the Chinese community to Think Differently about disability.

“The unlimited love” is the title of the campaign to change attitudes and behaviour that limit opportunities for disabled Chinese people in Auckland. The campaign is funded through the Ministry of Social Development, Social Campaigns Team Family and Community Services.

The campaign will utilise Chinese media, such as Chinese Voice Radio AM936, Skykiwi (most popular Chinese website in New Zealand) and Chinese Herald (newspaper) to introduce a series of local and national disability services. These include, Autism NZ Inc, Blind Foundation, Deaf Radio, Circability, Elevate Christian Disability Trust, Mental Health Foundation’s Kai Xin Xing Dong project, Independent Living Services and many more. Beside that, Philip Patston and Dr. Huhana Hickey also shared their inspiration about their work in the disability sector.

Eva the CEO of CPSST hopes by introducing disability services Chinese people can gain an understanding of the services available for them. “ We hope more dialogue among Chinese community about disability by introducing the disability services”.

According to The New Zealand Disability Strategy One in five people, in New Zealand report having a long-term impairment. This can be born, incidents, health issues or require later in life.

(The Unlimited Love has been running on every Saturday for 13 weeks on AM 936 from 10am to 11am).


Invitation to Take Part in the Like Minds Youth Survey on Discriminatory Language

The Like Minds national programme, northern region provider team, Affinity Services and Ministry of Social Development are working together on a project about discriminatory language used by young people.

Part of the project is a nationwide survey, we want to know what you think about the use of this language. Your input is vital. 

If you are a young person aged between 12 and 24 years living in New Zealand, please take five minutes to complete the Like Minds youth survey, and enter the draw to win one of three $50 Prezy Gift Vouchers. 

Feedback and comments will be used to develop a resource to address bullying and discrimination among young people. 

All responses will be kept confidential. No identifiable information will be associated with your responses in any reports of this data. Participation is voluntary.

Please forward this invitation on to any young people you know to help get as many respondents as possible.

Promoting Participation in General Elections for People with Disabilities

The Ministry of Social Development is looking to improve accessibility of elections processes for people with disabilities.

A consultation document has just been released, with responses due by 14 December. Click on the link below for more information.


There’s an accessible Word format document at the above url.

Externals Issue 4 – The Newsletter from Ministry of Social Development


Newsletter for health and disability professionals and organisations Issue 4 – July 2012

Introduction by the Principal Health and Disability Advisors

Externals has been created to keep you updated on news and events from across the Ministry of Social Development that relate to the Health and Disability sector.

Our aim with Externals is to cover the wide and diverse interests of the Health and Disability sector.

Externals is designed so your topic of special interest is easily found. If there are topics you’d like covered in our next issue, or you’d like to give us feedback, we’d like to hear from you.

Please contact the Principal Advisors:

*       David at david.bratt001@msd.govt.nz or

*       Anne at anne.hawker011@msd.govt.nz

Article index

*       What does Work and Income currently fund?

*       Disability Employment Innovation Fund

*       Save time online at workandincome.govt.nz

*       Future Focus – May 2011 Changes (Sickness benefit)

*       Breaking the cycle of welfare dependency

*       Productivity Allowance

*       Consensus Statement on the Health Benefits of Work from The Australasian Faculty of Occupational & Environmental Medicine

*       Changed process for monitored medical alarms paid through Disability Allowance

*       Skylight’s 2012 professional development courses

*       Apply online for NZ Superannuation

*       Reminders

*       Useful websites

*       Feedback

What does Work and Income currently fund?

Work and Income currently funds a range of services designed to support people to (re)enter into employment or undertake training irrespective of benefit. Work and income also provide assistance specifically for people with ill health or a disability.  Some of these are listed below .

Assistance generally available for main-benefit recipients

*       Flexi Wage Subsidies – are payments to assist towards wages and skills training for employers and community groups.

*       Job Search Service – supports people back to work as quickly as possible using either individualised or group job search activities.

*       Work Experience – designed to help clients gain up-to-date work experience, explore whether a job or career could be suitable from them, and to develop informal contacts.

*       Training Incentive Allowance – provides assistance to clients receiving certain types of benefits to undertake employment related training that will improve their skills and increase their chances of gaining employment.

*       Course Participation Assistance – provides financial assistance towards the actual and reasonable costs for a client participating in short-term employment related training.

*       Seasonal Work Assistance – provides financial assistance to workers who are unable to work (and lose income), due to poor weather conditions.

*       Transition to Work Grant – is paid to help with essential costs in regards to job searching and work placement costs.

*       Recoverable Assistance for Study – provides assistance to help sole parents receiving Domestic Purposes Benefit with study costs at level 4 or above on the National Qualifications Framework undertaking study towards being a doctor, nurse, midwife, vet or teacher.

*       Flexi-Wage Plus Self Employment – helps clients to investigate or enter self-employment by providing training and advice. Can include both a subsidy and a grant to help clients overcome barriers associated with moving into self employment.

*       Activity in the Community – aims to support clients through participation in community-based projects by offering opportunities to clients to gain voluntary unpaid experience in a community or voluntary organisation.

*       Skills for Industry programmes – funds industry-related training in order to provide employers with employees who are specifically trained to their entry level requirements and to enable Work and Income clients to access and keep employment that becomes sustainable.

*       Work Confidence – helps clients increase their motivation, confidence and job searching skills to move toward unsubsidised work or training.

Assistance available specifically for people with a disability or ill health

*       Invalid’s Benefit Employment Trial – allows a client to work 15 hours or more in open employment for up to 6 months while retaining their invalid’s benefit.

*       Employment Transition Assistance – is a non-taxable payment that is available for clients who have a reduced level of income after completing an employment trial.

*       Employment Coordinator – works with clients who have a disability or ill health, to assist them with gaining and maintaining employment.

*       Modification Grant – provides financial assistance for disabled people or people with ill health, so they can gain or retain employment.

*       Job Support – are grants and subsidies which help cover the additional costs incurred due to participation in employment.

*       Self Start – is a grant paid for support services that are needed when a person with ill health or a disability goes into self-employment.

*       Training Support – is a grant which covers additional costs incurred through participation in training, work experience, education or capacity assessments.

*       Mainstream – is a programme which provides a package of subsidies, training and other support to help people with significant disabilities get work in selected State and private sector organisations.

Disability Employment Innovation Fund

On 7 November 2011, Ministers Bennett and Turia announced the new Disability Employment Innovation Fund making $500,000 available for innovative ways of getting disabled people into work or retaining them in work. As the Ministers stated in their announcement, “A priority … is to get people into work. This fund supports disabled people into work and also supports employers to retain disabled workers.”

The Ministers set the expectations that the outcomes would inform the welfare reform work.

The fund was targeted to three areas:

*       Innovative projects from employers to retain current employees in employment who either have an existing disability or who have acquired a disability including chronic health condition or mental health condition.

*       Innovative projects from employers to get disabled people into employment.

*       Innovative projects from the NGO sector or disabled people organisations to support disabled people into self employment.

Sixty seven applications were received. The applications were assessed by a panel comprising Work and Income; MSD Policy; Employment Disability Forum and Employers’ Disability Network.

Seventeen applications were successful. For more information see:



 Save Time Online at workandincome.govt.nz: How to use WINZ online services

  • Use the self service kiosks in our office if you don’t have access to a computer.
  • You can search for work
  • You can search through thousands of job vacancies on Find a Job. It’s as easy as entering a job title and where you want to work. If you find a job you’d like, call us.
  • You can check what you might be eligible for You can check the types of financial assistance you may be eligible for by answering a series of questions. This is a research tool only and you can’t apply for any financial assistance here.
  • You can apply for financial assistance
  • You can complete and submit your online application form. You’ll need to create a username and password before you begin. This tool will also help you determine what type of financial assistance you may be entitled to.
  • You don’t have to complete your application form in one sitting. You can save your application, then log out. When you come back, you’ll be taken to your last saved page. Partially completed applications will be saved for 60 days.

Before you begin, you’ll need the following information at hand. If you have a partner, they’ll also need to answer some questions and have this information handy:

*       IRD number (contact Inland Revenue if you don’t have it)

*       bank account numbers

*       last pay slip (this will show your holiday pay)

*       income details for the last 52 weeks

*       details of your housing costs

*       details of any assets you own which could earn income

*       details of any debts that you have (including hire purchases).

If you need help with your online application you can contact 0800 559 009 – please say “Online help” when you are asked to say why you are calling. Or you can email us at: OnlineSupport@WorkandIncome.govt.nz

For further details on the online services  http://www.workandincome.govt.nz/online-services/

For further details on line application process – http://www.workandincome.govt.nz/online-services/the-application-process.html

Future Focus – May 2011 Changes (Sickness benefit)

1.      How does the sanction process work and how will it be applied for SB clients?

The Future Focus package is about helping people on benefits get back into work as quickly as possible. We believe that paid work is the best route to independence and well being for most people because it increases self esteem, provides financial independence and gives our children positive role models.

People on benefits that have work obligations won’t be penalised for not getting a job, but they may have their benefit reduced or suspended if they’re not actively looking for one. Work obligations mean they must be available for and take reasonable steps to find suitable work.

For more information about sanctions go to: http://www.workandincome.govt.nz/about-work-and-income/news/future-focus-2010/sanctions.html

2.      What assistance is there for employers taking on clients with part-time capacity and health and disability barriers?

Work and Income helps clients move into jobs that are the right fit for their competencies and career choices.

From 2 May 2011 we will be working closely with a targeted group of Sickness Benefit clients to identify suitable employment opportunities for their circumstances and support them to move towards getting a job.

Work and Income also provides a range of assistance designed to support clients to (re)enter into employment or undertake training, and support employers taking on our clients.

Some examples include:

*       Flexi Wage Subsidies – Wage subsidies are payments to assist towards wages and skills training for employers and community groups.

*       Modification Grant – Modification grants can be paid to the employer or the employee to remove physical barriers to work.

*       Skills for industry programmes – These programmes are available for all benefit types including disabled people and people with ill health on Sickness Benefits.

3.      What assistance is available to help clients with paying fees for getting a medical certificate completed?

Clients are required to pay for their medical certificates. In the early stages of a medical condition most clients will already be consulting their GP regularly, so that the number of truly additional visits should not be significant.

It is not unreasonable to expect a person to see their doctor twice in the first eight weeks of benefit receipt. More frequent assessment is likely to reduce benefit dependency at the early stages of illness or disability when people are usually closer to the labour market. The longer people are on benefits, the more likely they are to lose the confidence they need to participate in work.

If the client’s medical condition is likely to last at least six months, they may be eligible for a Disability Allowance (DA). If the client qualifies for Disability Allowance, the costs of medical assessments can be included.

Disability Assistance brochure is at:


4.      Will people on SB be better off taking a low paid job for part-time hours? (Abatement and Better-off calculators, etc)

Yes. Paid work has been shown to increase people’s well being and aid recovery from illness or injury. There is strong evidence to show that work minimises the harmful physical, mental and social effects of being out of work for a long time through sickness.

Abatement Factsheet is at:


Breaking the cycle of welfare dependency

As part of the Government’s commitment to transforming the benefit system, promoting self reliance and recognising people’s work potential, changes are proposed for introduction at the end of July to support young people at risk of long term welfare dependency.

The new Youth Service will support 16 and 17-year-olds not in education, training or work, as well as 16 to 17 year olds and young parents up to 18 years old who need financial support. It will offer hands-on guidance and financial support for young people who are on a benefit or at risk of coming onto a benefit.

Youth Service is about stepping in early and targeting support to help young people gain the skills they need to be independent.

Young people who need financial support

Over half the young people who first enter the benefit system at 16 or 17 years old spend at least five of the next 10 years on a benefit.   The new service will mean these young people will:

*       Be helped by contracted Youth Service providers into education, training or work-based learning.

*       Have assistance with managing money through budgeting assistance, and a new form of payment where essential costs such as rent and power can be paid directly. The young person will receive an in-hand allowance of up to $50 and the remainder will be loaded onto a payment card for groceries.

*       Young people can receive a $10 a week incentive if they regularly attend classes and a budgeting course. A similar incentive is offered for young parents who attend parenting courses.

*       A Guaranteed Childcare Assistance Payment will mean that childcare costs will not stop young parents in this age group from studying.

Young people not in work, education or training

*       Youth Service providers will work with 16 to 17 year olds to help them into education, training or work-based learning.

*       The Ministries of Education and Social Development will share information to help identify school leavers most at risk of coming on to a benefit, so that Youth Service providers can step in early with the right support.

Productivity Allowance

What is Productivity Allowance?

The Productivity Allowance is a wage subsidy paid to an employer.  Workbridge administers this subsidy on behalf of the Ministry of Social Development.

The subsidy is paid to assist the employer while the employee gains skills and establishes the types of supports available to any employee starting a new job.  Like other new employees, disabled people increase their productivity the longer they are in employment.  The subsidy recognises the additional support the disabled person requires over and above the support that would be offered to any other employee.  The outcome of the subsidy is the creation of an inclusive and sustainable employment environment for the disabled person.

The job can be full-time or part-time.  It must be open employment and meet the minimum terms and conditions of employment (such as minimum wage), and not be receiving government funding for the same activity.

Why do all Productivity Allowances have a fading plan?

All Productivity Allowances have a ‘fade out’ plan whereby the subsidy reduces 5% every six months.  The maximum period for this subsidy is 52 weeks at which time the employee will need to reapply.  Any subsequent Productivity Allowance continues with the fade out plan.

Fade out plans are put in place to ensure a continuous flow of funds are available for other disabled people entering the workforce or new jobs.  The subsidy is at its highest when the disabled employee will require the most assistance and support, but fades as the person becomes more established in their job.

If you would like to find out more about Productivity Allowances contact your local Workbridge Centre Manager:


Call free 0508 858 858

Consensus Statement on the Health Benefits of Work from The Australasian Faculty of Occupational & Environmental Medicine

At the heart of this consensus statement regarding the health benefits of work is a shared desire to improve the welfare of individuals, families and communities. Realising the health benefits of work for all Australians requires a paradigm shift in thinking and practice. It necessitates cooperation between many stakeholders, including government, employers, unions, insurance companies, legal practitioners, advocacy groups, and the medical, nursing and allied health professions. We, the undersigned, commit to working together to encourage and enable Australians to achieve the health and wellbeing benefits of work. We acknowledge the following fundamental principles about the relationship between health and work.

For more information http://www.racp.edu.au/index.cfm?objectid=57063EA7-0A13-1AB6-E0CA75D0CB353BA8

Changed process for monitored medical alarms paid through Disability Allowance

The Ministry of Social Development has introduced a new accreditation process for suppliers of medical alarms to over 51,000 clients who have the cost of their monitored medical alarm paid through Disability Allowance.

What are the changes?

*       The cost of providing monitored medical alarm services paid through the Disability Allowance has gone down.

*       Medical alarm suppliers have new high quality service standards to meet.

*       From 1 March 2012 only companies which have met the new standards and provide value for money are allowed to be ‘accredited’ medical alarm suppliers.

The nine accredited medical alarm suppliers are: (in alphabetical order):

*       ADT Armourguard (incorporating Signature Security, Eldersafe, HomeGuard, Safe Secure, Careguard, Radius Heal)

*       BUPA Care Services Ltd (incorporating Guardians, Guardians Help Phone)

*       Chubb Medical

*       Freedom Medical Alarms (incorporating Freedom Medical Alarms Christchurch, Masterton South Rotary Club (Alarms), Abel Assist)

*       Kiwi Concern (NZ) Ltd (incorporating 3C Personal Alarms, Constantly Secure Medical Alarms, AlphaCare Medical Alarms, Help Phone North)

*       Safe Link Ltd (incorporating Help Phone Wellington)

*       Senior Care Ltd

*       St John (incorporating Procare, Safe House)

*       Tunstall Lifecare.

Further information is on the Ministry’s website at http://www.msd.govt.nz/about-msd-and-our-work/work-programmes/medical-alarms/medical-alarms-landing-page.html

Skylight’s 2012 professional development courses

Skylight’s professional development courses cover a broad cross section of issues relating to the impact of change, loss, trauma and grief on children, young people, adults and their families, friends and community. Skylight facilitators work with individuals and organisations to provide workshops and training modules to suit their specific needs. Training can be arranged at whatever venue works best for you.

In 2012, Skylight’s training programme will run two series for people working with children and young people; ‘Talking to Kids About…’ and ‘Talking to Teens About…’. Topics for these workshops include ‘Eating Disorders’, ‘Addictions’, ‘Anger’, and ‘Risky Behaviour’. These workshops are of particular value to health professionals, family and community support workers. For more information, please contact:

*       Linda Karlin, Manager Counselling & Training 04 9396760 or lindal@skylight-trust.org.nz

*       Aileen Davidson, Training Coordinator 04 9396767 or aileen@skylight-trust.org.nz

Apply online for NZ Superannuation

Turning 65? People can now apply online for NZ Superannuation. Feedback from applicants about the application has been positive. They tell us it gives them more choice and control over how they apply for NZ Superannuation and makes the process easier for them.

Apply online on the Senior Services website: www.seniors.msd.govt.nz


Visit the Senior Services website

If seniors need information about entitlements, support or how to get in touch with us visit the seniors website: www.seniors.msd.govt.nz Ask a Question on the Senior Services website If older people have questions and need answers they can use our Ask a Question tool on our website: www.seniors.msd.govt.nz The quickest way to get an answer to your question is to search our Find Answers page.

Email updates

People can now receive seniors-related information from us by emailing the following details to us at: seniors@msd.govt.nz

*       Name and Address

*       Client number (found on the back of the SuperGold card)

*       Email address.


Useful websites

Ministry of Social Development          www.msd.govt.nz

Work and Income                         www.workandincome.govt.nz

Senior Services                         www.seniors.msd.govt.nz

StudyLink                               www.studylink.govt.nz

Child, Youth and Family         www.cyf.govt.nz

Office for Senior Citizens              www.osc.govt.nz

Office for Disability Issues            www.odi.govt.nz



Remember, we welcome your suggestions and ideas. Did you find the newsletter useful, what can be done to make it more useful, and what worked or didn’t work? Please send any feedback to Anne at anne.hawker011@msd.govt.nz or David at david.bratt001@msd.govt.nz

NGO Social Work Study Awards – 2013: Applications Close 12 October 2012

The next application round for the NGO Social Work Study Awards is now open and will close on Friday 12 October 2012 – approximately 70 new study awards will be available commencing in the 2013 academic year.

Programme Success

A student, who has the support of the NGO Social Work Study Award programme, including the active support of their employer, is more likely to successfully complete a qualification at bachelor level (Level 7) than the “average” student studying inNew Zealand.  To date, 582 study awards have been made over the seven years these awards have been available – of these, 561 students commenced study and accessed funding through this award.  272 of these students have now graduated with a recognised qualification in social work, 184 students remain active within the programme (i.e. yet to qualify) and 102 have withdrawn before qualifying, most often because the student has moved to “non-qualifying” employment.

This means that, as a minimum, 73 % of the students who have so far exited this programme have left with a qualification in social work recognised by the SWRB.  Of those students who have exited early, many carry on with, and successfully complete, their study.  By way of comparison, based on reports published by the Ministry of Education, the overall completion rate inNew Zealandfor Level 7 (Bachelor) qualifications for those students studying part-time is 47 %.

This data suggests that a student who has the additional support of the NGO Social Work Study Award programme, including the active support of their employer and Family and Community Services, is more than 50 % more likely to successfully complete a social work qualification at bachelor level (Level 7) than for the “average” student studying part time in New Zealand.

This outcome will clearly vary for each student based on their abilities, the programme and the education provider, and a range of other factors.  While a range of other factors will impact on individual student success, the support provided through this study award is an important positive factor in study success.

About The Awards

Each study award has a maximum possible value of $33,244 (Inc. GST):

  • Students / tauira can receive help with their course fees of up to $3,500 per year and up to $10,500 in total over the duration of the award.
  • Employers can receive a contribution to help support their student / tauira in study of up to $4,600 per year and up to $13,800 over the duration of the award.  This can be used to help with a range of study-related expenses, including backfilling the employee’s position while they are studying.
  • Employers can also receive a contribution to help with the cost of backfilling their employee / kaimahi while they are on their final three month external placement of up to $8,944.

Application Process

Application is a joint process between an NGO employee / kaimahi and their employer.  There is a standard application form to complete and it is recommended that employees / kaimahi and their employers work together to complete the application process.  Complete and well-presented information is likely to assist in the selection process.

Pre-Application Workshops / Hui

A series of pre-application workshops / hui will be held in September and October 2012.  These workshops / hui will explain more fully the information available contained in the Applicant’s Booklet, and on our website, and also provide an opportunity to have any questions answered.

All interested students and employers are invited to attend a workshop near them – all attendees are welcome – it is not necessary to register to attend.

Pre Application Workshop Schedule 2012


Geographical Catchment




Masterton Waiarapa Wednesday – 05/09/2012 Open Home Foundation,

81 Lincoln Rd.


10.30 am – 1.00 pm
Palmerston North Manawatu Thursday – 06/09/2012 Salvation Army,

431 Church St.

Palmerston North.

10.30 am – 1.00 pm
Whanganui Whanganui Friday – 07/09/2012 Te Puawai Whanau Family Start Kaihautuora,

282 Victoria Ave


10.30 am – 1.00 pm
Gisborne East Coast (Inc. Wairoa) Tuesday – 11/09/2012 TWOA Campus,

630 Childers Rd.


10.30 am – 1.00 pm
Opotiki EasternBOP Wednesday – 12/09/2012 Te Ha O Te Whanau Trust,

29aKing Street,


10.30 am – 1.00 pm
Rotorua BayofPlenty(Tauranga / Whakatane / Kawerau, etc) Thursday – 13/09/2012 Te Puna Whaiora – Princess ofWalesHealth Camp,

Moana Terrace


10.30 am – 1.00 pm
Auckland Auckland Tuesday – 18/092012 AucklandYouth Horizons,

42 Vestey Rd.



10.30 am – 1.00 pm
Whangarei Northland Wednesday – 19/09/2012 Maunu Children’s Health Camp,

436 Maunu Rd.


10.30 am – 1.00 pm
Kaitaia Northland Thursday – 20/09/2012 Te Runanga O Te Rarawa Te Oranga,

16 Mathews Ave.


10.30 am – 1.00 pm
Christchurch Canterbury(Inc.Christchurch& West Coast) Tuesday – 25/09/2012 Stepping Stone Trust,

126 Linclon Rd.



10.30 am – 1.00 pm
Dunedin Otago Wednesday – 26/09/2012 Barnardos,

392 Hillside Rd.


10.30 am – 1.00 pm
Invercargill Southland Thursday – 27/09/2012


Invercargill Family Works,

183 Spey St.


10.30 am – 1.00 pm
Wellington Wellington/HuttValley/KapitiCoast Monday – 01/10/2012 Wesley Community Action,

Epworth House

75 Taranaki Street,

Wellington. 6141.

(Behind Café Doria & behind old wooden church – very last building after the church & the wooden buildings.  Alternative entry viaHolland StreetoffTory Street.)

10.30 am – 1.00 pm
Nelson Tasman / Marlborough Tuesday – 02/10/2012 PHO,

20 New St.


10.30 am – 1.00 pm
Hamilton Waikato / Hauraki /Thames Thursday – 04/10/2012 TeAraHouVillage,

Anglican Social Services,

100 Morrinsville Rd.



10.30 am – 1.00 pm

Further information

These awards are administered by Family and Community Services (FACS), a service line of the Ministry of Social Development.  More information about these study awards is available on our website http://www.familyservices.govt.nz/working-with-us/programmes-services/connected-services/ngo-social-work-awards.html or by calling our free phone 0508 346 376.

Information booklets and the standard application forms are available:

  • From the Family and Community Services website (see above)
  • Through attending one of the Pre-application Workshops / hui (see above for details of these workshops)
  • From Schools of Social Work (i.e. Universities, Polytechnics, Wananga, etc)
  • By calling free phone 0508 346 376.

If you have questions or simply wish to discuss aspects of your application or how the study award works, please call free phone 0508 346 376 in the first instance.