Labour Party MP for Te Tai Hauāuru Adrian Rurawhe says money is wasted requiring police to tackle mental health issues.
In Election Aotearoa’s Te Tai Hauāuru debate the participating candidates were questioned about the 606 suicide deaths in NZ in the past year.
Rurawhe acknowledged that 130 of those deaths were Māori and that “something serious” needed to be done about the underlying issues of poverty and inequality.
“We’re spending money on police trying to fix up things. Now that’s wrong. 600 hours a day police are spending on mental health issues with people that have not committed an offence. That’s a waste of money. We need to put that money into health services. And it’s a real indictment on the National Government with the support of the Maōri Party that they have underfunded health in NZ by $2 billion.”
Māori Party candidate Howie Tamati said the under-funding criticism was unfair as it suggested “that we don’t care about our people and we do”. He said the Māori Party did not control the government and pointed to the success of Whānau Ora as an example of what the party had achieved with what they could do.
Green Party candidate Jack McDonald said his party was calling for a national inquiry into the state of New Zealand’s mental health system, saying “we have a mental health crisis in this country.”