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PM's Press Conference 14/8/17: Mental Health and Evidence

PM's Press Conference: Evidence-Based Mental Health, Other Things Not So Much

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The Prime Minister was joined by Health Minister Jonathan Coleman at today's post-cabinet press conference. They announced a suite of new mental health initiatives costing $100 million. Prime Minister English described it as a 'significant broadening and a significant step forward' in mental health. Coleman said the programmes represented a 'whole of Government' 'life course' approach for prevention, early intervention, and resilience.

Coleman and English took questions around the announcement including the (lack of) need for a mental health inquiry, being 'opne minded' about a suicide prevention target, the adequacy of Wellington mental health beds, whether addication finding was keeping up with demand, running pilots of evidence-based mental health programmes vs just rolling out non-unsupported youth justice plans, maintaining staffing (especially in the face of the aged care pay equity settlement), Treasury's assessment of the budgeting process, and the ban on people prescribed antidepressants from serving in ther Police.

English then answered questions on Australian Deputy PM Barnaby Joyce turning out to be a New Zealand citizen, the National's new youth offender plan (including fining parents who children are out late at night – which he had not seen evidence would help children – and boot camps even more intensive than the ones the Government gave up on as a failure previously), Labour's plan to teach driving and civics in schools, the possibility of a Maori statutory role of water allocation following on from Labour's plan for water extraction royalties, and the possibility of the ruined ChristChurch Cathedral being gifted to the nation.

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