Who has the plan for solving one of the biggest election issues?
Mental health and addictions issues rapidly became, and have persistently remained, one of the most prominent issues this election. The sector and public have called on candidates from all sides to make better support a priority. Almost 2,000 people, 25 organisations and 62 candidates from six parties have agreed that it matters that we get this right. But what are the parties’ plans to do that?
The it matters! campaign asked experts to rate each of the parties’ policies to find out whether anyone has a plan to move mental health and addictions support in Aotearoa New Zealand to a better place. The results are varied from policies that simply don’t exist (ACT) to some that are well on their way to making some real change.
“The fact is that there is no simple fix or one size fits all approach,” says Marion Blake, CEO of Platform Trust. “But for the first time this election, parties have unanimously agreed we’re not doing enough, and most want to try to do something about it. There’s a lot to like about some policies, but our experts felt that some are picking from a lolly scramble of solutions that won’t address system-wide issues.”
Two key points that experts raised were first that, while our youth suicide rates are appalling, many of the suggested policy measures aimed at addressing this would almost certainly miss the mark for most young people at risk. Secondly, experts noted that very little has been suggested in policies to address the workforce issues that currently cause significant pressure on services, leading to an inability to meet the needs of New Zealanders. Many policies will only result in more referrals to these strained services. The experts noted that issues around pay equity in the support workforce and nursing communities would have a substantial effect on the workforce, among other things.
The full party by party analysis of policies will be available on the it matters website (www.itmatters.org.nz) from tomorrow.