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Taxpayers’ Union Calls For Outcomes-focused Mental Health Spending Rather Than A Cash Splash

Responding to reports that a landmark $2 billion investment in New Zealand’s mental health system by the Ardern government has had little effect on services and delivery, Connor Molloy, Campaigns Manager at the Taxpayers’ Union, says:

“We warned at the time that the incredible amount of taxpayer funds that were being invested could disappear into a black hole. Unfortunately, we were vindicated with a prescient reminder that improving health services takes much more than a mega cash splash – it requires smart investment and a game plan to ensure that not a single cent goes to waste.

“It seems as if these funds were channelled into various government departments with spurious attachment to mental health treatments, rather than being targeted towards New Zealand’s struggling health system as it should have been. Setting aside approximately $480 million for Kāinga Ora to respond to mental health issues is a symptom of the endemic bloat of the public service, with every department and office a one-stop shop for every need and want.

“Bravery is needed from Matt Doocey, the new Minister for Mental Health. If a programme is not working, it must have its funding cut so that the money can be redirected to more impactful areas rather than letting fear of backlash drive continued expenditure on ineffective programmes. Additionally, with mental health being unique to each individual, it would be prudent to allow more choice and control for New Zealanders over the services they receive by allowing them to take their public funding to the provider of their choice, rather than being damned to the waiting list in the public sector.”

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