Do pardon my scepticism - but nine months?

Nine months for a mental health inquiry? $6 million and nine months - looking into an area that's been looked into many times before. So we start surely with a good amount of information and anecdotal evidence as to where the areas of concern might be.

If I was cynical, I'd say it's a classic political stall.

Announce an inquiry that takes until October - that means you can receive the report and bury it over Christmas... so that's the whole year gone.


What it will inevitably come down to, as it always does, is money.
And more specifically how that money is distributed.

Is the money spent efficiently? How big a variance is there across the country?

Which of course brings in the old DHB problem.
Mark my words, as sure as night follows day, the report will find that at least part of the problem is the priority (or lack of) that some district health boards give to mental health.

And when the report finds that the big question - and this is the question to come out of all government reports - what, if anything, are they going to do about it?

And given the answer is almost certainly... nothing... you then ask (quite rightly) what was the point of the report?

And how ironic on the very day they announce the inquiry we also get a damning coroner's report into the abject failure of service by the Central and Lakes Community Mental Health Team in the treatment of a young man who took his life.

The coroner said the failure of the staff involved was incomprehensible - and inexcusable. Those are the stories that paint the picture of our mental health system being broken - and thus lead to inquiries.

So is that scenario a funding one?
Is an inquiry going to do anything to prevent that sort of ineptitude?

Or is the simple reality that, no matter what you do, there is no cure for incompetence and bureaucratic unprofessionalism.

Is that DHB going to be found wanting in terms of priorities - and will an inquiry change that?

And that's the trouble with these far-reaching expensive investigations - they raise expectation. Which is always the easy part of the trick.

The follow through, or lack of, is the real key. And the reason presumably we are here with yet another probe is because no one clearly has managed previously to follow through.