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Report recommends compassionate health-based approach to mental health and addiction, let’s make it happen

The Green Party have welcomed the report into mental health and addiction, and urge the Government to move quickly and implement the findings before more New Zealanders are harmed.   

“The Government has held back from big change in delivering support while awaiting the report’s findings, which serves as a watershed moment for the mental health crisis in Aotearoa New Zealand,” Green spokesperson on mental health and drug law reform Chlöe Swarbrick said today. 

“Now we have a comprehensive blueprint to solve a crisis that is costing lives and hurting New Zealanders. This Government must heed the recommendations of the report. 

“The report recommends removing criminal sanctions for personal drug use and for addiction to be treated as a health issue instead, with therapeutic treatment at the core. 

“This is not the first time we’ve been told by experts and the evidence that a compassionate health-based approach reduces addiction and harm. This is why the Green Party has championed this for so long and we will continue advocating strongly to see this recommendation implemented. 

“The report also recommends championing community-based services so that people are at the centre of service-delivery in New Zealand, and for parliamentarians to work constructively together to reach consensus on mental health and addiction, which I’ve sought to do through bringing together a cross-party working group this past year. 

“The foundation of this report is compassion, care, listening to those with lived experience, removing criminality and ensuring a well-resourced sector. This is what reduces mental ill health and addiction. This is what will improve the wellbeing of New Zealanders. 

“I look forward to working with Labour and New Zealand First to ensure these recommendations are implemented in full and with urgency. We cannot sit on this report. New Zealanders have already been waiting too long.”