Today’s Te Huringa: Change and Transformation - Mental Health Service and Addiction Service Monitoring Report 2022 report by the Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission shows that the Government’s expensive but poorly-planned approach to mental health is not turning the dial for vulnerable New Zealanders,” says ACT Deputy Leader and Health spokesperson Brooke van Velden.

“The report states that wait times for mental health services have not decreased over the past five years, and wait times for addiction services have become longer.

“Each year the Government spends about $2 billion on mental health and addiction services, but we’re not seeing any outcomes.

“The $1.9 billion announced in 2019 could have provided 500,000 Kiwis with six counselling sessions each year for the next five years. Instead the report has found there is ‘no change’ in mental health services.

“The Government has been content to throw money at the mental health crisis and hope that solves it, but this report proves that innovative and long-term thinking is needed to create a better future for vulnerable New Zealanders.

"Around four-in-five New Zealanders will face mental health challenges throughout their lives. We need a practical approach to ensure these people are not victims of a disjointed and overly bureaucratic system.

"ACT would give the Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission the power to transform mental health and addiction services by taking the $2 billion per annum currently spent through the Ministry of Health and DHBs, and channelling it to providers and patients through an upgraded Commission renamed Mental Health and Addiction New Zealand (MHANZ).

“MHANZ would not be a provider of services, but a world-class commissioning agency that assesses individual needs and contracts the best providers for a person’s therapy and care. It would put people at the heart of the system.

"ACT is determined to create a better future for New Zealanders. We urge the Government to introduce our innovative solution for the mental health crisis facing New Zealand.”

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