Dunne's bureaucratic nonsense | The Jackal

20 Jun 2013

Dunne's bureaucratic nonsense

Although I don't usually agree with anything they advocate for, The Sensible Sentencing Trust has come out strongly against Peter Dunne's track record as Associate Minister of Health, and in this instance their criticism is for the most part right on the button.

Today, Scoop reported:

“In a desperate effort to make up for his lethargic approach to suicide prevention in this country, Mr Dunne has recently thrown eight million dollars at the issue, yet refuses to speak to privately funded organisations that are leading the way in this field. It is rich coming from him to accuse the Electoral Committee of petty bureaucracy when he continually responded to requests to amend mental health legislation with one paragraph, bureaucratic nonsense.”

I wouldn't say the Sensible Sentencing Trust is "leading the way" in suicide prevention.

"This is consistent with my attempts to discuss various issues with Mr Dunne relating to criminal offending by those labouring under mental illness”, Mr Moyle says, “The Minister states that it is important to regularly review approaches to suicide prevention and take into account new research and evidence, along with changes in society, yet when it pertains to offending by the mentally ill, he relies on studies carried out in the 1990s, and he has the nerve to accuse the Electoral Committee of living in the days of quill pens and parchment"

Peter Dunne was an absolute failure as Associate Minister of Health in terms of suicide prevention, with the rate increasing markedly under his watch. In fact when the government came under fire for their lack of preventative measures, Dunne had the gall to come out and claim that the rate had decreased, which was an absolute lie!

The suicide rate has increased since 2008, which clearly indicates that increasing social hardship since National gained power is causing more people to commit suicide. Previously suicide had reduced under a Labour government by 27.3% between 1998 and 2007.

Some might argue that there's no relationship between economic conditions and the suicide rate... Here's what the experts say (PDF):

Economic instability and insecurity increase the likelihood of immoderate and unstable life habits, disruption of basic social networks, and major life stresses − in other words, the relative lack of financial and employment security of lower socioeconomic groups is a major source of their higher mortality rates.

~ Brenner

So the exact opposite would apply... If people have economic stability and security they're more likely to have moderate life habits, and less major life stresses. That's where any Minister who gives a damn should focus their attention if they want to reduce New Zealand horrendous suicide rate.

The Electoral Committee not allowing Dunne to register his party is in my opinion a non-issue. Dunne needs to follow the rules, and if he doesn't have enough paid up members and the paper work or electronic equivalent to prove it, he shouldn't receive any additional funding... It's as simple as that.