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Green Party welcome Government saving regional mental health service whilst review under way

Green Party MP Chlöe Swarbrick has welcomed the extension of funding for Te Kūwatawata mental health service in Gisborne while the Government conducts its review of mental health services.

“Security of funding for mental health services is one of the top issues raised with me by constituents. I visited Te Kūwatawata clinic and their work was incredibly inspiring, effective and fit-for-purpose,” Green MP Chlöe Swarbrick said today.

“I wrote to Health Minister Dr David Clark last month to raise concerns after a number of ongoing conversations about the sustainability of funding for mental health services, and I am over the moon that he has been receptive and agreed to extend funding for Te Kūwatawata.

“I’ve been touring mental health services around the country, meeting patients and workers alike, and have been alarmed by the number of services at risk of closure because of funding uncertainty.

“These organisations are doing incredible work for their communities under immense demand, providing critical support for New Zealanders who need it, particularly in remote regions.

“The Greens negotiated our Confidence and Supply commitment with Labour to provide ‘high quality and timely’ mental health services, so we’re stoked about the mahi underway in the Mental Health and Addiction Inquiry to identify how we can meaningfully address mental health issues in Aotearoa New Zealand.

“In the meantime, we need to ensure no one falls through the gaps, and that we don’t waste limited resources in closing any services that would require substantial investment to re-establish.

“Putting the job security of staff and the wellbeing of patients at risk, especially when the report-back on a substantial review into services is around the corner, just doesn’t make sense.

“I look forward to continuing constructive work with the Government to ensure front-line mental health services don’t have to fight for survival, but focus energy on helping Kiwis reaching out for support”.