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Maori Council slams Government over latest suicide statistic

The numbers of deaths by suicide in New Zealand are beyond unacceptable and it is time both the previous Government admitted it failed New Zealanders during its nine years in office and that the current Government is at risk of failure by following the same path.” Said Matthew Tukaki, Executive Director of the New Zealand Maori Council and former Chair of Suicide Prevention Australia.

“The data that has been released today is actually one of the indicators of how far we have to go. First of all the data is not timely and fails to give us the detailed analysis we need to better understand what is happening and across what population groups. Secondly there is still no national suicide prevention strategy or plan – let’s face it; that ran out in 2016 and three years on we still have nothing,” Tukaki said
“A lot of people ask me about the wellbeing budget and how that investment is going to make a difference. My response is simply this – how will something make a difference when there is no structured or cohesive plan? How can you tell me all this funding is going to be available to fund what exactly? Let’s not mince words with this anymore – there is no plan and that stands in stark comparison to the fact our health and mental health systems are no longer fit for purpose in today’s New Zealand.” Tukaki said.

“When it comes to Maori the rates of suicide are on the increase. Its not that they have peaked – we are a long way from a peak. They have increased year on year for the last several years and the Government once again has no plan for our people and they seem to shy away from wanting to fund anything we put forward. They constantly say we are waiting for this or that Inquiry. Well; why this and the previous Government waited for Inquiry after report nothing changed and Maori are sick of it.” Tukaki said

“The truth is we need to start having conversations about full national health reform, mental health and suicide prevention and of this Minister doesn’t know how to do it then he needs to get off the bus.” Tukaki said

The New Zealand Maori Council has already made a range of recommendations to the Government on a pathway forward but, after a number of months, has still not had a response from the Minister.

“I say to the Minister check your email – because it seems as if you are just nothing more than a series of glib one liners.” Tukaki said

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