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I am always impressed by those who work in emergency services. People who give their time, energy and expertise to serve our community in times of need; working to ensure our safety, health and welfare while often placing their own at risk. Any opportunity to help our emergency service people deliver aid should be embraced in my view, so I was disappointed at the Government’s decision to cancel the mental health crisis call response pilot.

The $8 million pilot was announced last year as part of the National Government’s $100 million mental health package and was due to start this September, and would have seen mental health nurses attending mental health incidents alongside police and paramedics.

Mental health is one of our most challenging social issues and affects thousands of New Zealanders every day. The pilot was universally supported, and offered a tangible opportunity to explore the benefits of having specialists working alongside our emergency response personnel; seeking to establish a working mental health crisis support system for our community.

I have long advocated for cochlear implants for adults with severe hearing loss, and was pleased when the previous National Government announced a $6.5 million funding boost to cochlear implant procedures for adults.

I know many New Zealanders who have had access to the implant procedure and are experiencing the benefits of the technology - being better able to work or interact socially.

The world really does open up again, when one’s hearing is restored. This Government is clearly seeking to close that world down again, cutting that promised funding boost completely. $6.5 million is only 0.038% of their $17 billion health budget.

If I saw you at Fieldays this year, chances are I asked you to consider signing fellow MP Barbara Kuriger’s petition against cuts to Rural Health Alliance (RHAANZ) funding. I was proud to see this petition tabled in The House last Tuesday. 

The Rural Health Alliance is a lynchpin for the health and wellbeing of rural people, yet the Ministers for Rural Communities and for Health won’t continue Government support. A wicked blow at a time when our farmers are under significant stress especially with the arrival to the Waikato of M. Bovis.

I reflect on this Government’s un-willingness to support the obvious health needs of hard-working New Zealanders regardless of their stated commitment to healthcare, and wonder; is it to spite the previous Government or a lack of connection with real Kiwis?

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