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Mental health sector short changed

Matt Doocey - Mental Health

22 May 2018

Labour campaigned on a significant increase in investment in the mental health sector, but its Budget 2018 has short changed the sector, National’s Mental Health spokesperson Matt Doocey says.

“The Ardern-Peters Government who once called for change in the mental health system has denied New Zealanders progress for at least another year.

“After pledging mental health as one of their top priorities before going into Government, no extra funding for mental health services will be prioritised for the first two years. However, the Government has prioritised $1 billion for diplomats.

“What’s worse is that the $100 million mental health contingency fund set aside by National last year has been ‘reprioritised’ in a complete contrast to their so-called caring and compassionate approach.

“Not only has there been little targeted money pledged to begin tackling mental health in New Zealand but this Government have pried money away from what was set aside in Budget 2017 and left a long list of broken promises.

“After Labour promised free mental health GP visits there has been no word or funding set aside for this. Its election pledge to pilot a programme for Primary Mental Health Teams has been overlooked.

“Labour’s promise to increase School Based Health Services from decile 1-3 schools to every school has been pared back and will only be extended to decile four schools. The promise for a stand-alone Mental Health Commission has been ignored and the list goes on.

“These promises and any action in mental health have been abandoned in favour of a mental health inquiry that the country’s own Mental Health Commissioner admitted was unnecessary.

“The Health Minister has badly let down New Zealanders hoping for some positive news in the budget for mental health.’’

ends

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