OAG asked to investigate $1.9b for mental health

National’s Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Spokesperson Matt Doocey has written to the Auditor-General to request an investigation into why the $1.9 billion the Government allocated to mental health has not resulted in any material improvements in mental health outcomes.

“The Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission’s damning report released last month found that improvements in mental health have not materialised under Labour despite the $1.9 billion of extra funding, with little change in access and wait times for mental health and addiction services.

“I have asked the Auditor-General to investigate because at every turn Labour has blocked the Opposition from speaking to officials to understand the findings and where the money has gone.

“I first requested that the Health Select Committee be given a briefing about the findings from the Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission. After that request was blocked by Labour MPs on the committee, I requested the Ministry of Health provide a briefing. Again, this request was voted down by Labour.

“I then requested a briefing from the Auditor-General, whose office released a separate report which found that Government initiatives to expand mental health services did not result in any changes in performance information. Unsurprisingly, but nonetheless disgracefully, Labour again abused its majority and blocked this request.

“Each of these requests were supported by every other party on the committee, but Labour is uninterested and unwilling to examine why mental health outcomes have not improved.

“That’s why I have now asked the Auditor-General to investigate.

“The Government may not like what was in these reports or want to hear further criticism about their inability to deliver, but New Zealanders deserve to know where the money has gone and why it hasn’t resulted in improved outcomes.

“Only then, can we learn what we need to do to ensure investment in mental health can deliver better access to services that so many struggling Kiwis desperately need.”

You can read Matt Doocey's letter to the Auditor-General here.