In October the Ministry of Health wrote to the trust, asking it to stop collecting letters immediately, because it does not have ethics committee approval, and there were privacy and safety concerns.
Mr King told Checkpoint in October he would not stop collecting the letters.
“This isn’t North Korea. They aren’t Donald Trump, they can’t tell people what to do.
“People voluntarily gave them to us, hoping that we could come up with some themes and some commonalities to arm people with tools to understand why someone wishes to take their own life.”
But the Ministry of Health’s Health and Disability Ethics Committee chair Kate O’Connor told Checkpoint’s Lisa Owen the context in which the data has been collected appeared to be “poorly considered”.
“We have ethics committees in this country for a reason, a really good reason. Poor research can kill people.”
Ms O’Connor said a range of people had complained about the ‘1000 Letters’ campaign.
“There were clinical experts that gave us a formal complaint, and numerous emails and letters from people with lived experience of suicide.
“People who had been bereaved, people who had survived their own suicide attempt, and consumer advocates, people working in mental health.”