Health Minister needs to intervene to free Ashley Peacock

The Green Party is calling on the Minister of Health to give an immediate Ministerial Directive to the Capital and Coast District Health Board (CCDHB) to free an autistic man who has been locked in a cell-like room for five years.

The New Zealand Herald revealed today that Ashley Peacock has been kept in effectively solitary confinement in Porirua for the past five years, allowed only one and a half hours outside each day.

“The Minister of Health has specific powers* to direct the Health Board to act and this is the sort of extreme case that requires the Minister to do so,” Green Party Health spokesperson Kevin Hague said.

The National Intellectual Disability Care Agency, the Human Rights Commission and the Ombudsman have all investigated and say that Ashley has to come out.

“The CCDHB has had a clear pathway to reintegrate Ashley into the community since March, starting with appointing a Project Manager for him. Yet Ashley remains in a situation that you could only really describe as imprisonment at this point because the DHB hasn’t shown any commitment or urgency, despite having the funds to take action,” Mr Hague said.

Mr Peacock’s parents have said the hospital had told them that funding constraints, and the fallout from a series of high profile deaths of mental health patients were among factors that had lead the hospital to keep their son locked up.

“New Zealand has made an international commitment to end the use of seclusion, as it constitutes a form of torture. It should be a temporary last resort used for purely therapeutic reasons, not a five-year sentence used for punishment to save money, or to cope with inadequate staffing levels,” Mr Hague said.

“People shouldn’t suffer the kind of treatment that Ashley Peacock has been subjected to because the National Government refuses to fund mental health services properly.

“Ashley Peacock’s treatment highlights why we need an urgent and nationwide inquiry, along the lines of the Mason inquiries into mental health services, and an immediate reinstatement of the Mental Health Commission to provide independent oversight,” Mr Hague said.

*Under section 32 of the New Zealand Public Health and Disability Act 2000, the Minister may give directions to specific DHBs.

Latest Health Announcements

Story

Budget 2022: Greens MP Dr Elizabeth Kerekere says wins for health not enough for Māori or Rainbow

Today Greens Te Mātāwaka Chair and Health Spokesperson, Dr Elizabeth Kerekere, said “The Greens have long campaigned for an independent Māori Healt...
Read More

Story

Green Party supports nurses’ ERA decision

The Green Party supports nurses’ continued push for pay equity and calls on the Government to deliver the back pay they had expected.
Read More

Story

Allied health workers deserve better conditions

The Green Party is throwing its support behind the 10,000 allied health workers taking work-to-rule industrial action today because of unfair pay a...
Read More

Story

Keep masks in schools to protect tamariki

The Green Party does not support the Government’s decision to move Aotearoa to ‘orange’, or the removal of mask rules for schools.
Read More

Story

Urgent action needed to protect communities

The Green Party does not support changes to COVID protection measures and calls on the Government to act urgently to keep our most at-risk communit...
Read More

Story

Greens urge Government to keep public health protections

The Government must not remove COVID-19 protection measures until it is very clear that the Omicron outbreak has passed, the Green Party says.
Read More