An unusual campaign targeting Prime Minister John Key's Facebook site may have helped save the Auckland Sexual Abuse Help Service's crisis line.

More than 7000 people signed a petition hosted by the website, through which people can start petitions on any issue.

Many clicked a link from the website to leave messages, some telling of personal experiences of sexual abuse, on Mr Key's Facebook page.

And yesterday the Ministries of Health and Social Development came up with about $150,000 between them to keep the service's 24-hour crisis line open until the end of June.


A Health Ministry spokesman said the two agencies were "committed to working with Auckland Sexual Abuse Help over the next six months to ensure a sustainable service".

The rescue came on the day the service had planned to issue redundancy notices to up to 15 people.

A small group held a cakestall outside National MP Nikki Kaye's Auckland Central electorate office yesterday before hearing of the reprieve, but a larger rally planned for Queen St last night was called off.

A member of Help's board of trustees, Kelly-Ann Harvey-Vernon, said she believed the public pressure had "an enormous impact".

"I created the Facebook group and invited some of my friends, and one saw the group ... so she created the online petition, and then it just snowballed."