Families who have lost loved ones to suicide are meeting face to face with politicians in Wellington.

The suicide prevention political forum is being held at St Andrews on the Terrace.

It comes on the back of yesterday's suicide prevention rally at Parliament, where 606 pairs of shoes were laid out on the front lawn.

The YesWeCare rally has been travelling around the country with the shoes, representing each person who killed themselves in the past year in New Zealand.

Advertisement

A letter was also sent to every party on August 1 from three mums who lost children to suicide while under mental health care.

It had the support of more than 200 bereaved families and asked politicians to "have the courage to put aside politics and do what is right for every Kiwi".

Today a number of those families are telling politicians exactly how they would like them to do that.

They want a national suicide reduction target, an inquiry into New Zealand's mental health crisis, the restoration of $2.3b in health funding, an increase in primary health and GP funding, safe mental health staffing and healthy home regulations.

Initially, neither National nor Act responded to the request to attend today's discussion.

Two bereaved family members said they would instead wear chicken suits with a blue and yellow tie to sit in their place.

But representatives for both National and Act turned up, joining representatives from the Green Party, Labour, NZ First and The Opportunities Party.

The Internet Party, Maori Party and United Future have sent messages of support for today's event.

Advertisement

The Internet Party leader also offered to speak by Skype from Russia.