Election 2017 – The Green Party’s Reply

Tēnā koutou

Thank you for your letter dated the 17th of May 2017 regarding the Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand’s policy on mental health and the wellbeing of New Zealanders.

Below are the responses to your questions.

1. What is your party’s vision for the mental health and wellbeing of all people in our country?

The Green Party’s vision for our country is an approach to health and well-being that is focused on promoting positive health and lifestyles, preventing or reducing the risk and costs of illness, respecting personal autonomy, and improving quality of life. We have called for a nationwide mental health inquiry because we don’t think our mental health system is currently working.

2. How was this vision co-designed with culturally diverse people with lived experience of mental/emotional distress?

As the member of a culturally diverse party, I can assure you that members of the party and our community are considered and consulted when creating policy. We also have members with a lived experience with mental and emotional distress, whose concerns have been at the forefront of our vision and our processes are as democratic as possible.

3. What are the detailed policies your party has to implement this vision?

The Green Party supports a full nationwide mental health inquiry to get to the bottom of what is happening in our mental health system. We expect that the inquiry will bring many issues to the public attention and will ensure that there is a systemic response. We know that our mental health services need a significant boost in funding to cope with current demand. We want the inquiry to inform our thinking about how we can best direct these increased resources.

Green Party Policy:

  • Ensure mental healthcare training and practice is grounded in holistic, humanistic perspectives that recognise each individual as whole.
  • Encourage mental health providers to work within multi-disciplinary teams that hold the well-being of the client at the heart of their practice. Wherever possible, clients have a primary provider who remains with them through their recovery process.
  • Utilise client-assessed outcome measurement tools to compare service effectiveness.
  • Fund innovative initiatives that indicate high recovery rates with low/minimal drug use.
  • Ensure physical health needs of people with mental health needs are also well met.
  • Ensure both inpatient and community (including residential) services are well resourced and provided at levels to ensure all clients can use services well matched to their individual needs.

4. How were these policies co-designed with culturally diverse people with lived experience of mental/emotional distress?

Within our health policy, we have specific policy dedicated to Māori and other population groups so as to better contribute to their wellbeing. Again, we have consulted people with experience of mental and emotional distress throughout our policy-making.

5. What is your party’s position on the implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in relation to people with psychosocial disabilities?

The Green Party supports the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in relation to people with psychosocial disabilities. The effects on someone’s ability to participate fully in life as result of mental ill-health needs to be better considered and if we had a functioning mental health system then this would be addressed. There is an ongoing question whether New Zealand put in place the supports needed in the transition from a medical model of psychosocial disability to the rights based approach.

6. What are your party’s short, medium and long term targets for implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in relation to people with psychosocial disabilities?

Achieving equality requires additional measures such as the provision of assistance to persons with psychosocial or intellectual disabilities in order to support them in making decisions and in exercising their legal capacity on an equal basis with others.

There are a high amount of people with psychosocial disabilities who underwent compulsory treatment, and the reasons need to be better understood.

The Green Party have been raising numerous issues with keeping people with disabilities in long term seclusion and have campaigned to ensure that DHBs are treating people appropriately. We need to end the practice of seclusion across our health system. It will need structural change though because some mental health patients have seclusion as a default setting, instead of receiving the wrap around services and supports needed.

The disparity in the health outcomes, such as diabetes and dental care, for persons with disabilities must be addressed.

7. How were these targets co-designed with culturally diverse people with lived experience of psychosocial disabilities?

There is concern that Māori are being kept in greater rates of seclusion throughout our mental health system. We are aware that getting rid of seclusion rooms would benefit Māori.

8. What is your party’s understanding of the allocation of the current mental health budget?

Currently, the mental health budget has been allocated poorly. There are too many children facing long wait times to see a mental health specialist, the Government’s Social Investment Approach will only target those fitting a narrow definition of needing help and the health budget itself has been underfunded by $1.7 billion for the time that the National Party has been in government.

The Green Party is calling for a full mental health inquiry to ensure that any much needed funds are allocated to the right place.

The so-called ring-fencing of mental health funding is not working. We have serious concerns that the ring-fencing of funding for mental health is being used a political plaything, rather than ensuring mental health gets the funding that it needs.

9. How will your party allocate the mental health budget in the short, medium and long term?

Immediately we would announce that mental health services would get a short term funding increase. After having a full nationwide mental health inquiry, we would know what the best use of funding for mental health services would be and how to improve the lives of New Zealanders.

10. How was this allocation co-designed with culturally diverse people with lived experience of mental/emotional distress? 

All members of our party and community are consulted when constructing our policy, and our democratic processes ensures that we take into account everyone’s perspective. The purpose of the mental health inquiry is to hear from a diverse range of New Zealanders. We would push for this to specially engage with whanau, hapu, and iwi. We need to draw on the expertise that is already out there and ensure that it is recognised.

11. What are your party’s national mental health targets?

Green Party policy:

  • Ensure mental healthcare training and practice is grounded in holistic, humanistic perspectives that recognise each individual as whole.
  • Encourage mental health providers to work within multi-disciplinary teams that hold the well-being of the client at the heart of their practice. Wherever possible, clients have a primary provider who remains with them through their recovery process.
  • Utilise client-assessed outcome measurement tools to compare service effectiveness.
  • Fund innovative initiatives that indicate high recovery rates with low/minimal drug use.
  • Ensure physical health needs of people with mental health needs are also well met.
  • Ensure both inpatient and community (including residential) services are well resourced and provided at levels to ensure all clients can use services well matched to their individual needs.

12. What is your party’s plan to measure these targets?

The Green Party would systemically look at mental health and ensure that it gets the attention that it needs.

13. How were these targets and the measurement plan co-designed with culturally diverse people with lived experience of mental/emotional distress?

The aforementioned targets and measurement plan were created in consultation with party members and our community, including culturally diverse people with lived experience of mental/emotional distress.

14. What is your party’s plan to evaluate the provision of mental health services?

The mental health inquiry would evaluate the provision of mental health services and provide the analysis necessary to know where we can put more money in for best value.

15. How will this evaluation be co-designed with culturally diverse people with lived experience of mental/emotional distress?

This evaluation will be co-designed with culturally diverse people with lived experienced of mental/emotional distress by consulting the party and the wider community.

16. What is your party’s position on Te Aiotanga: Report of the Confidential Forum for Former In-Patients of Psychiatric Hospitals?

New Zealand’s former psychiatric institutions once hid many cruelties and the report above heard from almost 500 people who have a right to have their experience acknowledged and listened to. There does need to be an acknowledgement and an apology. The physical, emotional and sexual abuses against people needs national acknowledgement. Everyone in our communities needs to know what happened, acknowledge it and learn from it.

17. What is your party’s position on an inquiry into the historic abuse of people in psychiatric institutions?

The Green Party strongly supports an inquiry into the historic abuse of people in mental health facilities.

18. What is your party’s position on an inquiry into current abuse of people in mental health facilities?

The Green Party strongly supports an inquiry into the current abuse of people in mental health facilities.

Nāku noanā,

Julie Anne Genter MP

Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand

One thought on “Election 2017 – The Green Party’s Reply

  1. question 15 – consultation does not equal co-design. dont think people get co-design – have noticed staff thought it might mean co-designed with staff lol

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