Source: Radio New Zealand, 23 January 2018
Health Minister David Clark said most of the hearings would be
held in public, but there might be special circumstances.
"The inquiry has subpoena powers because we have heard from some
people working in the sector that they feel vulnerable and that
speaking the truth might be difficult in terms of their employment
Those powers, he said, could provide for anonymity for those
witnesses who "want to tell the story of what's going on inside the
system", or any others who feel speaking out may be personally
And Dr Clark said the government would respond accordingly to
the outcome of the inquiry, including a potential boost to
The six-person inquiry team will be led by the former Health and
Disability Commissioner Ron Paterson and will hear public
submissions around the country.
The other members of the inquiry panel are Dr Barbara Disley,
Sir Mason Durie, Dean Rangihuna, Dr Jemaima Tiatia-Seath and Josiah
The purpose of the inquiry:
- Hear the voices of the community, people with lived experience
of mental health and addiction problems, people affected by
suicide, and people involved in preventing and responding to mental
health and addiction problems, on New Zealand's current approach to
mental health and addiction, and what needs to change
- Report on how New Zealand is preventing mental health and
addiction problems and responding to the needs of people with those
- Recommend specific changes to improve New Zealand's approach to
mental health, with a particular focus on equity of access,
community confidence in the mental health system and better
outcomes, particularly for Māori and other groups with
disproportionally poorer outcomes.
To do this the inquiry will:
- Identify unmet needs in mental health and addiction.
- Identify those groups of people (including those not currently
accessing services) for whom there is the greatest opportunity to
prevent, or respond more effectively to, mental health and
- Recommend specific changes to create an integrated approach to
promoting mental well-being, preventing mental health and addiction
problems, and identifying and responding to the needs of people
experiencing mental health and addiction problems.
- Specify which entities should progress the inquiry's
recommendations, including relevant ministries and a re-established
Mental Health Commission.
The inquiry will help inform future decisions
- Roles and responsibilities of agencies in the health sector,
including a re-established Mental Health Commission.
- Improved coordination between the health system and other
systems such as education, welfare, housing, justice, disability
support, accident compensation and emergency response.
- The design and delivery of services (eg, kaupapa Māori
approaches to mental health) and effective engagement with all
relevant stakeholders including mental health service providers,
and consumers and their communities and whānau.
- Governance, leadership and accountability levers to ensure
access to an appropriate standard of mental health services across
- Fiscal approaches, models and funding arrangements.
- Data collection, programme evaluation and information
- The suite of relevant regulatory frameworks, including the
Mental Health (Compulsory Assessment and Treatment) Act 1992 and
the Substance Abuse (Compulsory Assessment and Treatment) Act
- Workforce planning, training, support and management.