5 Apr 2024

Chlöe Swarbrick on the future of the Suicide Prevention Office

From Midday Report, 12:10 pm on 5 April 2024

The future of the Ministry of Health's Suicide Prevention Office is uncertain after the Mental Health Minister admitted plans for its closure were never discussed with him.

Disestablishing the Office is part of the Ministry's overall cost cutting proposal that could also see 134 jobs go.

The Ministry has told RNZ that suicide prevention remains a priority but the unit's leadership role is already vacant and it's looking at getting rid of two positions and moving another two into a wider team.

The Mental Health Minister Matt Doocey appears to have been blindsided by the move - he's now insisting the office is not a victim of the government's cost-cutting drive and has made it clear to the Director- General of Health that he expects it to stay open.

The Greens mental health spokesperson is Chlöe Swarbrick says this is a sign of chaos within the government.

Swarbrick spoke to Charlotte Cook.