National is not prepared to let the Government park the mental health needs of Kiwis while it holds an inquiry, and has offered to work together to improve New Zealand’s mental health services both immediately and longer term, Mental Health spokesperson Matt Doocey says.
“Mental health is one of our most challenging social issues and affects thousands of New Zealanders every day.
"These people need help now and National refuses to sit by while the Government delays that help with an inquiry while offering no new solutions in the meantime and scrapping vital mental health initiatives, like the pilot that would’ve seen mental health nurses attending mental health incidents alongside police and paramedics.
“That’s why I’ve written to all parties in Parliament offering to establish a cross-party group to focus on improving New Zealand’s mental health services and outcomes. This would include immediately delivering better services where we can and improving the whole system in the longer term.
“At the same time we strongly urge the Government to reintroduce the 17 mental health initiatives outlined as part of our $100 million mental health package announced last year after being developed alongside mental health experts.
“These would make a real and immediate difference and the Government’s decision to scrap them in favour of an inquiry means New Zealanders are missing out on vital services which should be being delivered now.
“It’s not too late for parties to work together in the best interests of New Zealanders struggling with mental illness. In line with global trends, demand for mental health services in New Zealand is continuing to increase and people need help now as well as better long-term solutions.
“The climate change cross-party group is an example of how this approach can help break down barriers to progress and result in faster action, and we want to see the same happen in mental health.
“It won’t be easy and of course there will be debate about the best solutions, but addressing mental health in New Zealand is too important not to give this a real go.”