Little needs to stop making excuses on mental health and start doing his job

Andrew Little needs to stop making excuses and take ownership on mental health, says National’s Mental Health and Suicide Prevention spokesperson, Matt Doocey.

“All we’ve heard from the Minister is how everyone else is to blame for his government’s utter failure to deliver on its promises on mental health.

“The latest revelation is that the government has spent just $13 million or three percent of the $438.2 million it allocated in Budgets 2018 and 2019 for 15 new mental health facilities and upgrades of existing mental health facilities.

“Whakatane’s mental health unit rebuild has stalled because the DHB and Ministry can’t agree on whether it should have ten or fourteen beds. This is the same inpatient unit that had 108 per cent occupancy last month. In another example, the masterplan for the new facility in Canterbury was completed ten months ago and has been waiting on the Minister’s final sign off ever since.

“When is he going to take responsibility for his government’s mental health programme?

“In the last week alone his excuses have included:

  • He is extraordinarily frustrated at the slow place of the Government’s mental health reforms.
  • He is  frustrated the money isn’t flowing through.
  • He can’t understand why there is a delay in getting shovels in the ground.
  • He doesn’t  understand why the Whakatane mental health unit rebuild has stalled.
  • He has only been the Minister for eight months.
  • The execution of his own government’s policy  is out of his hands.

“It is time for Andrew Little to stop wringing his hands as if he is a powerless bystander and a step up and be a Minister.”