Key Points:

Blokes bristling with moustaches will not raise money for prostate cancer awareness this "Movember", after a dispute between charity groups over how the money is spent.

Instead, the issue of men's depression is the intended beneficiary of this year's event in "the month formerly known as November".

Movember international's headquarters in Australia has cut the Prostate Cancer Foundation of New Zealand adrift after helping it to raise nearly $3 million in the last two Novembers.

In a slick marketing campaign, men are encouraged to sign up sponsorship for growing and grooming a moustache during November. The money raised so far in New Zealand is for prostate cancer research and to raise awareness of the disease.

Having started in Australia, Movember now has charity partners, like the foundation, in six countries.

The foundation receives the donations and pays a fee to Movember for its services.

Foundation president Barry Young said yesterday that Movember was ceasing its support unless the foundation agreed to spend the money on projects approved by Movember and on its timetable.

"We found such a demand untenable.

"They took the view the money was donated to them. You ask anyone who donated it - they donated it through an excellent vehicle for fundraising, but who did they donate it to: the Prostate Cancer Foundation. It is over to us to be responsible to the people of New Zealand who made the donations."

He acknowledged that only one, small trial - of a programme to help GPs discuss prostate cancer with patients - had been funded, but five DVDs on screening, treatment and other aspects of prostate cancer were being developed, and the foundation would soon announce two much-larger research projects.

Mr Young said the foundation had acted cautiously in spending the money in order to achieve the best results.