Alex Spence is an investigative reporter and feature writer who tends to focus on social issues such as health and mental health.
Alex Spence is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years of experience in New Zealand and the UK. He began his career as a staff writer at North & South magazine in the early 2000s. In 2004, Alex moved to London, where he lived for 17 years. He spent a decade at The Times as an online editor and reporter, covering legal affairs, financial crime, and the media industry. In 2015, Alex was the first reporter hired in London by the American politics website Politico when it expanded into Europe. In 2017, he joined BuzzFeed News as a senior political correspondent, where he covered the fallout from the Brexit referendum and was part of the team that was named website of the year at the 2018 British Press Awards. Alex returned to New Zealand with his family in December 2020. Since joining the Herald, he has focused mainly on investigations into problems in healthcare, including gaps in specialist mental health services. One of those stories received an award for feature writing at the 2023 Voyager Media Awards.
'This is just madness': MetService staff in disbelief at fatal flood forecasting
An internal review seen by the Herald says warning systems need 'substantial changes'.
‘We’re literally the future of the country’: Youth mental health campaigner’s plea to politicians
Youth activist says she is frustrated mental health is not a policy priority.
Did the polls get it right? How predictions stacked up
Recent polls were broadly accurate on party shares. The surprise was in the electorates.
Auckland seats on knife-edge as Nats celebrate snatching Labour strongholds
Some traditional Labour strongholds including Mt Albert are incredibly close.
A social worker came up with a novel solution for homeless youth: His own home
Aaron Hendry set out to build an alternative to emergency housing, one home at a time.
'Not acceptable' - Dr Shane Reti’s 19 unauthorised ED visits caused political storm at Health NZ
Emails reveal depths of political storm after National MP's ambulance ride-alongs.
'Betrayal': Whistleblower doctor claims patients are at risk
Radiologist who alleged 'conspiracy' at Health NZ speaks exclusively to the Herald
Hipkins ordered to apologise over document release breach
Chief Ombudsman rebukes PM's office for delayed release of Auckland flooding documents.
ED assault crisis has doctors demanding 24/7 security: 'Worst we have ever seen'
An influential group of emergency clinicians is urging politicians to act on the crisis.
‘We don’t need this bull***t’: Mental health service shake-up prompts backlash from exhausted staff
Demoralised employees in Wellington say proposed reforms won’t help a system in crisis.
Senior doctor’s plea as staff struggles put safe emergency service at risk
Senior doctor's plea to Health NZ bosses illustrates the extreme strain on EDs nationally.
Health and Disability Commissioner calls for 'urgent' action in Hawke's Bay radiology crisis
Letters show watchdog urged action several months before release of damning report.
'Decade of poor performance': Damning review of Hawke’s Bay radiology department, staff ‘exhausted’
Health NZ has released a report after being castigated by a whistleblower.
'Conspiracy to defraud the public': Doctor accuses Health NZ of failing to disclose unsafe practices
A senior radiologist has asked the Ombudsman to investigate the national health authority.
Mental health: Shake-up of Wellington services promises better response for patients in crisis
A proposal document details changes to community services for adults in the capital.
What drives Christopher Luxon? The full story of the man who wants to be PM
Many voters say they don’t know much about him. We went looking for more.
‘I have never seen an ED that busy’: Shane Reti's night ride with 19 ambulance crews
Over three months, National's health spokesman shadowed medics across the country.
Mental health: Patients told not to call 24/7 crisis hub at night
Leaked email reveals the extent of staffing shortages at a major Wellington service.
A&E crisis: Senior doctor's plea - ‘Everyone’s getting burnt out. We’re exhausted.’
'If I didn’t think there were knock-on effects for patients, I wouldn't be talking.'
Exclusive: Nurses refused to treat two patients because of safety fears
Extremely rare stop-work orders highlight growing pressure on frontline hospital staff.
Te Whatu Ora rebuked for ‘unacceptable’ OIA delays
Two complaints have been upheld relating to the release of hospital safety data.
Inside the days of chaos as officials ‘struggled to get their heads above water’ after Auckland floods
Documents show the view from Wellington as NZ's biggest city was drenched in January.
'Worrying trend': Antidepressants use in children, teens jumps 53% in five years
Watchdog's report identifies several major problems with public mental health services.
94 hours in A&E: Health watchdog calls for action on hospital overcrowding
Doctors raised alarm after patients were 'marooned' for days in Auckland Hospital's ED.
94 hours in A&E: Doctor raises alarm at ‘longest ever wait’ for inpatient bed
Overcrowding in the psychiatric unit left three people 'marooned' in ED for several days.
Revealed: 'Desperate’ hospital workers file 23,000 reports warning of unsafe staffing
Figures obtained by the Weekend Herald reveal a hospital system pushed to breaking point.
'Disturbing': Top brands review their TikTok ads after they appear next to distressing videos
Advertisers want better controls on young people viewing troubling mental health posts.
Revealed: The failures in the lead up to Cassandra's death
Parents disappointed by DHB review of treatment prior to teenage daughter's death.
Social media and mental health: ‘NZ incredibly slow to respond’
There are growing concerns about what teens are sharing about mental health online.
I set up a new TikTok account and it quickly turned into a stream of misery
The Herald's Investigations Editor dives into mental health TikTok.
Teen mental health crisis: ‘TikTok has completely changed the game’
Student who learned to self-harm online worries about others falling down a dark hole.
Teens, mental health and social media: 'People don’t understand how toxic it is'
She turned to social media for help with mental illness but fell down a dark rabbit hole.
She’s 76, a pensioner, landlord, and churchgoer. Is she also an arsonist?
Robyn Roff says an insurer wrongly accused her of setting fire to one of her properties.
'Failing completely': Mental health boss slams Govt reforms; new survey reveals young Kiwis' distress
Survey shows many young adults are struggling with cost of living and other pressures.
Great Minds: 15 ways to address our youth mental health crisis
We asked parents, clinicians and researchers what needs to happen next.
Are they listening? How Labour lost control of the narrative on mental health reform
It promised to transform a 'broken' system but critics say progress has been too slow.
'No options here': Desperate family leaving NZ to get help for self-harming teen
Parents are struggling to get effective support for kids with serious mental conditions.
'Instagram concerns': Coroner probes deaths of Cassandra Fausett, two other young women
Cassandra Fausett's death is one of three 'possibly related' to the social media giant.
Thousands of distressed teens rushed to ED - is there a better way to help them?
Desperate teens and parents say there's nowhere to go when they're in crisis.
Briefings to Jacinda Ardern show extent of mental health crisis' effect on young Kiwis
More children and teens are experiencing serious distress, but services can't keep up.
Mental health crisis: Senior officials admit 'we're not where we want to be'
Top officials responsible for overhauling mental health spoke exclusively to the Herald.
Mental health services are facing a staffing crisis. Here's why that matters and what you need to know
Key points from the Herald's investigation into the state of mental health services.
Mental health staffing crisis: Andrew Little promises 'more boots on the ground'
Health Minister reveals one of several 'innovative' measures planned to fill vacancies.
'Utterly overwhelmed': Child psychiatrists plead for action to fix staffing crisis
Doctors say too many young Kiwis are not getting timely care for serious mental illness.
Safety issues provoke confrontation between DHB execs, staff at mental health unit for teens
Staff at a psychiatric facility for acutely unwell teens worked in 'dangerous' conditions.
'Someone could die': Horrific conditions at 'chaotic' teen mental health unit
Staff at Porirua facility feared poor conditions would lead to "serious injury or death".
'Tip of the iceberg': Sir Peter Gluckman's warning over teen mental health
We are too focused on quick wins, says Sir John Key's former chief science adviser.
Random killing of mother: Health Minister expresses condolences to grieving family
Documents show staffing crisis at Hillmorton was escalated by health officials in January.
Children's mental health: Services at 'crisis point' as demand surges and staff depart
Mental health providers are struggling to cope with growing need in the wake of Covid-19.
Young, autistic, trans, and distressed, they turned to the mental health system for support. It didn't help
One family's story shows the growing pressures on mental health services for young people.
Sir John Kirwan in drive to raise $1m for school mental health initiative
Former All Black launches campaign amid growing concern about children's mental health
Child mental health crisis: Funding 'has not kept pace' with growing numbers
Number of young people seen in EDs for a mental health crisis jumped 177% in a decade
Budget 2022: $200m mental health boost 'small bikkies'
Head of Mental Health Foundation says initiatives are welcome but modest and "piecemeal".