Today’s announcement by the Government of a six unit secure facility rings somewhat hollow given that the Government has callously cancelled 17 mental health initiatives that would have been making a difference right now, National’s Health spokesperson Michael Woodhouse says.
“The fact that this Government grabbed $100 million that was earmarked by the previous Government for mental health and has pledged just $8.4 million in this ‘major’ mental health announcement beggars belief.
“During last years’ election campaign David Clark claimed that National’s $100 million package of mental health initiatives were merely ‘tinkering on the sidelines’.
“In light of him scrapping that fund and stalling with his unnecessary inquiry, I would ask him whether this announcement makes any real change to support the mental health of New Zealanders.
“Let’s be realistic here, while this facility is needed, this is a six bed unit that will not be a drop in the bucket to addressing the need for mental health services across the country.
“The Mental Health Foundation seems to agree with this sentiment, today saying that ‘this announcement will not make a material difference to the mental health needs of most New Zealanders.’
“It’s clear that mental health was de-prioritised as soon as the Government was sworn in, in favour of big ticket items including fees free and Shane Jones’ slush fund.
“The country needs to see real action on mental health. I urge the Government Ministers to take up our 17 mental health initiatives given they seem to have no original ideas of their own.”