“Labour’s mismanagement of the health system is proof that using more taxpayers’ money doesn’t automatically translate to improved services, despite a record spend on mental health the number of beds available has plummeted,” says ACT Deputy Leader and Health spokesperson Brooke van Velden.

“Across a number of mental health and addiction categories the trend is the same. The availability of beds for vulnerable New Zealanders is decreasing.

“Written Parliamentary Questions show that the number of bed nights for substance use residential treatment has decreased by 31 per cent.

“This equates to around 4,000 fewer nights in care available to people in need.

“Amazingly the total number of beds even contracted for mental health services has also decreased since Labour pledged $1.9 billion to mental health, decreasing from 2,760 to 2,688 in five years. You would think a couple billion dollars courtesy of the taxpayer would have made some sort of impact. Where did all that money go?

“The Government has thrown money at the mental health crisis and hoped that solved it, but 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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Brooke van Velden