GORDON LIGHTFOOT | Politics
YOUR WELLBEING IS IMPORTANT TO US
After the dramatic end to Justice Minister Kiri Allan’s political career, Prime Minister Chippy Hipkins is going the extra mile for his remaining ministers. To address any and all concerns about emotional wellbeing, Hipkins has turned to a public service classic – the Employee Assistance Program (EAP).
While some might have expected a serious examination of the demands and pressures faced by government ministers, Hipkins has opted for a more “hands-off” approach. EAP, a programme that is a running joke within the public service, was dusted off and presented as the solution early this afternoon.
As he unleashed a flurry of emails from his Microsoft Outlook application, Chippy urged his remaining ministers to “please make use of EAP” and explore their counselling services. The move was met with mixed reactions, ranging from eye-rolls to audible scoffs.
EAP, long used by managers to outsource the support needs of their staff, has left many public servants unimpressed. Critics argue that EAP is often little more than a box-ticking exercise, providing a band-aid for deeper issues at hand.
The use of EAP as a solution to all problems has raised eyebrows in the mental health community as well. “You can’t chuck an EAP web address at people and expect everything to magically get better,” commented mental health advocate Dr. Susan Su-Zann. “The issues at play here require thoughtful and evidence-based interventions.”
As ministers attempt to navigate both their duties and Chippy’s well-meaning yet inadequate solution, the public eagerly watches on. The scepticism around EAP’s effectiveness has only grown stronger, and kiwis are left wondering if this is truly the best the government can do for its struggling ministers.
Only time will tell whether the email reminders will have an impact on the remaining government officials. Until then, Wellington’s halls of power are echoing with the sound of Outlook notifications, and the groans from the people receiving them.
More to come.
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