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The Government appears to be quietly backing away from increasing access to mental health and addiction services to its own inquiry’s suggested target, National’s Mental Health spokesperson Matt Doocey says.

“The Government’s Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction highlighted increasing access to mental health services from three per cent to 20 per cent over five years as an indicative target and an underpinning rationale, which is clearly outlined on page 12 of the report in the Executive Summary.

“Instead, Health Minister David Clark’s obfuscation around answers in the House last week and today suggests he is dampening down expectations for New Zealanders who are seeking access to these services in their times of need.

“Dr Clark talked a big game on mental health in Opposition, but so far we’re yet to see any real progress as the Government’s response to their mental health inquiry has been delayed twice since receiving the recommendations in December last year.

“In the Government’s year of delivery, it’s concerning that a Government which promised so much in mental health is softening hopes as the Budget draws near.

“This will be massively disappointing for the 2000 New Zealanders who attended meetings to share their personal stories and the over 5000 people who made submissions.”

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