Thank you, mental health inquiry panel, for visiting my community.
I have already copied my submissions to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Health Minister David Clark and the Chief Ombudsman.
Firstly, thanks to the Government for holding an inquiry — but unless something meaningful occurs it is just a facade, as it has been for decades under politicians of various hues.
Let me start with the bottom line — $1 billion new funding (exclusive of nurses' pay rises) for community mental health services for which the district health boards managed to contract out of any responsibility.
In my opinion, DHBs are too politicised to be effective — when you are no longer the voice of the people, you have no public function.
Mental health allows people to die needlessly through underfunded services and suicide. New Zealand has the highest adolescent morbidity rate in the world, and yet we focus billions on the road toll instead.
Now I have been here before, picketing the hospital to retain a children's ward in 2006 ... had to take it all the way to Parliament, but we won.
I thank the Ombudsman, too, for in the last fortnight instituting unannounced visits to private rest homes with dementia patients. Pre-warned inspection by DHBs is a failure, implemented to alleviate DHBs of elder patient care.
In closing, I thank the 2018 Budget for reducing the cost of doctors' visits to $10 for Community Service card-holders. Mental health patients have a high need and only Whanau Ora had a reduced cost previously and that is "health apartheid".
Landlords, please care
Landlords, do you have to keep increasing the rents?
People are struggling to feed themselves, children are going hungry. We have to start caring for each other more.
Can't see the wood ...
In the Chronicle on Saturday, June 23, there was a very positive "Foreign investment in our forestry good news" story. Not quite.
Let us do the maths — 1 billion trees planted at 1000 to the hectare requires one million hectares.
Now if this land is farm land — and much of it will be — take a low stocking rate that produces only five lambs for export per year, at an export value of $200.
Now do the maths — five lambs x $200 x 1,000,000 comes to $1 billion. Now give 30 years until harvest and the opportunity cost of the lost lamb production is $30 billion.
Murray Sherwin, of the Productivity Commission, is recommending we need 2.8 million hectares to go into trees.
Now the foreign investment in forestry that this Government is trying to facilitate.
Even if this Government does not allow the purchase of land by foreigners to plant trees, it is now going to allow foreign investors to buy trees without buying the land.
What a wonderful investment — for them.
Steve Hansen still not happy with Damian McKenzie after Saturday's test against France? For God's sake open your eyes, Mr Coach. McKenzie was brilliant.
Forget the score: I believe France will be the team who will be a hand grenade in the next Rugby World Cup.
The All Blacks proved they are the best in the world, but remember that horse that fell and the jockey who rose to life again and won the race? So don't write off anyone.
Who is going to be the snail in the woodpile against the All Blacks in Japan in next year's World Cup — yes, the French. So get prepared, Mr Hansen. You have been warned.
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