The Government has called time on a Wairarapa programme aimed at reducing truancy, offending, risky sexual behaviour, and alcohol and drug use by young people, with officials saying the scheme struggled to make an impact.

The Ministry of Social Development (MSD) has confirmed the Wairarapa Social Sector Trial, a cross-agency and ministry initiative to address youth issues and increase participation in education and employment, will come to an end next month.

Of the 16 trials operating around the country, 11 are being supported to transition to a locally led model by the end of the year, while the remaining five, including Wairarapa, were to be wound up due to poor performance.

The trials national director, Carl Crafar, said despite the best efforts of those involved, the trial had not been a success.


"Like every community, the Wairarapa is unique. A model that's successful in one area won't automatically succeed in another. We have to have the courage to call time on initiatives that are not making as much difference as we expected. That is the case in the Wairarapa.

"Ultimately, after three years, with the current lead in place for under a year, the model struggled to make an impact across the three distinct districts involved. More time and more funding cannot change that."

However, the trials had been a success in that they had "helped those involved further understand what works for the community -- and what doesn't", Mr Crafar said.

The Wairarapa trial was launched in 2013, with the Wairarapa Times-Age reporting in January 2015 that funding of $225,000 was provided by multiple agencies to run the first two years.

Figures released by MSD show the trial received funding of $500,772 in its third (2015/2016) year.

The trial came under the spotlight in 2015 when minutes from a joint Wairarapa, Hutt Valley, and Capital & Coast District Health Board committee meeting revealed members thought it had made "extremely limited progress".

Mr Crafar said the manager of the Wairarapa trial, Julie Brunton, told him that, while there were regrets it had come to an end, there were no surprises at a local level.

Ms Brunton came on board in July 2014, following a three-month period where no one was solely responsible for the project after the first manager left for personal reasons.

Some programmes initiated by the trial were expected to continue, Mr Crafar said.

"A number of these services are sustainable; we know for example that the Youth Kinnex health clinic, offering free consultations and counselling for 13 to 23-year-olds, will continue."

He hoped that the agencies involved would continue to work together. "I hope the momentum of the trials isn't lost, and that the community and local leadership continue to work together to help people succeed."