Call for Maori Mental Health Authority
Maori Council and National Maori Authority call on Government to establish a Maori Mental Health, Suicide Prevention and Addictions Authority
The New Zealand Maori Council and the National Maori Authority have come together and called on the Government to do more when it comes to Maori and the mental health and suicide prevention sectors:
“Both Council and the Authority are deeply disappointed that the Mental Health and Addictions Inquiry came nowhere close to bringing to the fore the voices of Maori in what is widely recognised as a system that has completely failed our people.” Matthew Tukaki, Chair of the National Maori Authority and Chair of Council’s Tamaki District has said.
“Hundreds of Maori working in the system, consumers of it and those with a lived experience feel let down, disregarded and their voices drowned out. Of particular disappointment was the disregard shown to Maori as first nations people but also as the people with the world’s highest suicide rate and users of the system.” He said.
“While we welcome the report being released, which lets face it was forced by the backlash to the Ministers earlier statements, the truth is we need to act. The point I want to make now to all of our people is what does action look like.” He said.
“First of all the Government should not delay in the appointment of an interim Mental Health Commissioner and an office of suicide prevention. We do not trust the Ministry of Health nor do we trust those who have resided over the many systems failures these last ten years. A circuit breaker is needed now. Secondly we demand the Government appoint an additional Commissioner – one of Maori Suicide Prevention and Mental Health – to begin the work of engaging with our communities and people on a way forward.” Mr Tukaki said
“It is the intention of Council to bring interested organisations and people together from across Maoridom to hui, like we did with the National Maori Health Hui earlier this year, to begin building our response and proposals that could see the establishment of a new Maori Mental Health, Suicide Prevention and Addictions Authority – led by Maori, designed by Maori for Maori. This will be an important discussion at the National Executive of the New Zealand Maori Council being convened tomorrow in Auckland in an emergency session.” He said.
“Even if the Inquiry and the Government have not listened to the loud and clear message from our people, even if the Inquiry report has drowned out our peoples voices I am here to tell that Maori Council is listening, the National Maori Authority is listening and it is our intention to act and act now.” Mr Tukaki said.