Acting Prime Minister Winston Peters is either genuinely confused or he has deliberately made false statements to media today that the mental health crisis call response pilot had come to its end, National’s Police spokesperson Chris Bishop says.

“Mr Peters needs to get his facts straight – not only has the pilot not come to an end, it hasn’t even had the chance to get off the ground thanks to his Government.

“The $8 million pilot was announced last year as part of the National Government’s $100 million mental health package and was due to start this September.

“Designed by experts, it would see mental health nurses attending mental health incidents alongside police and paramedics and was universally supported – except by the Labour-NZ First Government which has chosen to scrap it.

“Either Mr Peters hasn’t bothered to get up to speed, or he’s deliberately made the false claim that the pilot has ended because he knows the public, police, paramedics, and mental health experts all want the pilot to go ahead and are angry the Government has axed it.

“For a Government that claims to take mental health seriously, it’s got a funny way of showing it. First it axes potentially game-changing initiatives, then misleads New Zealanders about it.

“Perhaps the most troubling thing about this is that this is by no means the first time Mr Peters has made a false claim to media and the public. Just a few weeks ago, he claimed there was more than one prison forecast report to cover up for Kelvin Davis’ incompetence.

“New Zealanders expect better from their Acting Prime Minister, and from a Government that claims it will be the most transparent, open government ever – sadly that too is looking like a false claim.”

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