News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search


It’s time to put new money where it makes a difference


It’s time to put new money where it makes a difference

The Prime Minister this week announced more money for mental health. However, for there to be any real change in mental health and addictions services, that investment must go to where the people are – to the community.

The current funding system for mental health services is grossly inefficient and outdated. We rely on 20 district health boards (DHBs) to each choose how funding for mental health services is spent to serve the most vulnerable people in their communities. Tragically, we know that mental health funding is not spent reaching the people who need help.

In all, we estimate that around $43 million per year is not going into public mental health service delivery. In 2014 there were 304 vacant positions in public adult mental health and addictions services[1] (Te Pou o te Whakaaro Nui, 2015) and 130 vacant positions in public children’s mental health and addictions services[2] (The Werry Centre, 2015).

“DHBs put less money into community mental health and addictions services and intentionally hold staff vacancies in public services, and then use the money to prop up other areas of health and the DHBs’ bottom line,” claims Marion Blake, CEO of Platform Trust. “It is time for the Government to hold DHBs to account.”

DHBs will inherently continue to be driven to cover their bottom line with any money they can get, unless their roles as both funders and providers of services are separated. If DHBs cannot or will not recruit staff, the money must go to the community non-government sector, where more people can be helped earlier, and in a more responsive way.

Platform Trust now believes that independent funding and commissioning is the only way we can create change for the better outcomes the Government says it is seeking. It is time to really put some action behind shifting resources to the community.

“If this Government fails to address these issues, then the Prime Minister’s promise of more money for mental health will only continue to try to repair a mental health system sitting on the shaky foundation established at the beginning of the last century” says Ms Blake.

Platform Trust is the national network of community organisations that support New Zealanders by providing a wide range of mental health and addiction services and creating a positive place for people experiencing mental health and addiction issues to live and work.

1 Te Pou o te Whakaaro Nui. (2015). Adult mental health and addiction workforce: 2014 survey of Vote Health funded services. Auckland: Te Pou.

2 The Werry Centre. (2015). 2014 Stocktake of Infant, Child and Adolescent Mental Health and Alcohol and Other Drug Services in New Zealand. Auckland: The Werry Centre for Child & Adolescent Mental Health Workforce Development, The University of Auckland.

© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


Facebook Announces New Changes: Combating Hate And Extremism

Some of these changes predate the tragic terrorist attack in Christchurch, New Zealand, but that attack, and the global response to it in the form of the Christchurch Call to Action, has strongly influenced the recent updates to our policies and their enforcement. More>>

Amazon Confirms: Lord Of The Rings Series To Shoot In NZ

Amazon Studios announced today that its series based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s iconic fantasy novels The Lord of the Rings will shoot in New Zealand. Pre-production has started, and production on the series will begin in Auckland in the coming months. More>>


Birds: Dunedin's Bells Ring As City Celebrates Its Albatross

The city's churches, schools and public buildings bells would chime in unison from 1pm, in what has been a long-standing tradition marking the return of the birds - and a farewell to this season's albatross chicks. More>>

Oscar Buzz: Waititi's Jojo Rabbit Wins People's Choice Award At Toronto

Taika Waititi's new film Jojo Rabbit has nabbed the coveted Grolsch People's Choice Award at the close of Toronto International Film Festival. More>>


Broken Estate: An Expat Expert Surveys Our Media

Melanie Bunce cut her teeth in journalism at the Otago Daily Times. Now she teaches and researches it at one of the UK’s most prestigious journalism schools and tracks the trends that shape the uncertain future of news... More>>



  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland