INDEPENDENT NEWS

Budget Shows Minister Has Learned Nothing

Published: Fri 28 May 2004 08:39 AM
Budget Shows Minister Has Learned Nothing
Today's Budget shows that Health Minister Annette King has learned absolutely nothing - she obviously still thinks that more money is the answer to our mental health crisis, ACT New Zealand Health Spokesman Heather Roy said today.
"In the Budget today, the Minister has allocated an extra $250 million to mental health over the next four years," Mrs Roy said.
"The Minister has obviously learned no lesson from the Mental Health Commission's finding, released last week, that fewer mentally ill New Zealanders are being treated - despite the Labour having poured an extra $321 million into mental health since it took office.
"New Zealand already spends more per person each year on mental health than Australia or the US and, according to the MHC, almost $800 million is to be spent on mental health this year.
"But it is the way in which services are provided that is the problem, not money. The MHC found that, while three percent of the population suffers from a severe mental illness, only 1.6 percent actually receives treatment.
"Ms King has perpetuated the mental health `cycle of tragedy' that she railed against in Opposition. This cycle will continue until she realises that money alone is not the answer. In the Minister's own words: `this is no way to run a health service'," Mrs Roy said.

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