The Government's response to the mental health inquiry has been pushed back to the second half of April because health officials are dealing with the aftermath of the Christchurch mosque shootings.

The delay is one of a few affecting Government work due to resources being directed to the response to the terror attack.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern acknowledged on Monday that there may be a "small change in timetables" for some work following the shootings.

The Government had promised to respond to the Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction Services in March after it was publicly released in early December.


Health minister David Clark today told an audience of addiction treatment leaders at Parliament that the Government's response would now come in the latter half of April.

Health officials who had been finalising the response to the inquiry were also working on providing more mental health services in Christchurch.

"I do want to assure you, however, that responding to the Inquiry remains a priority. In fact, if anything the events of recent days underline just how important this work on mental health and addiction is," Clark said in his speech.

The long-awaited report was the result of the most comprehensive inquiry into the area of mental health since the 1996 Mason report.

Among its recommendations were urgently implementing a national suicide prevention strategy, reforming the Mental Health Act and establishing a new Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission to act as a watchdog.

The inquiry, led by former Health and Disability Commissioner Ron Paterson, proposed a new approach that included removing criminal sanctions for personal possession of drugs, introducing health referrals and early intervention, increasing funding for addiction treatment and expanding the range of health interventions available.

Other Government work affected includes consultation on the vocational education and training review. The consultation period has been extended by 10 days to April 5.

There is also a possibility that the public release of the report of the Welfare Expert Advisory Group on the future of the social security system may be delayed.
That was due late March or early April.


Ardern said on Monday she did not expect the Government's response to the recommendations of the Tax Working Group, due in April, to be delayed.