Coleman a growing risk for National

At the worst possible time for National there are growing sides that Minister of Health Jonathan Coleman is highlighting the Achilles Heel of multi-term governments – arrogance and ineptitude.

Stuff: Treasury found Minister of Health’s mental health strategy not ‘coherent’ two months before Budget

An “incredibly damning” Treasury report criticised the Minister and Ministry of Health’s (MOH) failure to deliver an effective mental health strategy.

A report published online shows Treasury officials pushed Finance Minister Steven Joyce to shelve Health Minister Jonathan Coleman’s strategy two months ahead of Budget 2017.

It sparked a new cross-agency approach, but Opposition parties say the report show the ministry and minister “don’t understand the mental health sector”, which is unacceptable. Coleman says mental health is a “complex area” and it is Treasury’s role to provide independent feedback.

The report comes as a potentially damning State Services Commission performance review of the embattled MOH is in the works and after the ministry’s $38 million budget blunder caused chaos for several district health boards (DHBs) around the country.

A March 2017 report briefing Joyce on Budget 2017’s health package highlighted the ministry’s failure to put forward a coherent mental health bid.

Even perceptions of ineptitude can be damaging. It isn’t helped by Coleman’s arrogant defences and fobbing off.

Coleman said: “The drivers of mental health and addition are complex, and there is no simple answer as to why across the world we are seeing increased demand.”

“We have taken a cross-agency approach to this issue. I expect to have more to say on the details of the new initiatives being funded in the coming weeks.”

Mental health has been an obvious and serious issue for a long time. The coming weeks will be dominated by election campaigning, and it’s far too late to be trying to talk about new initiatives.

Health in general and mental health particularly are complex and difficult to deal with. Costs and demands keep rising.

As well as competence something important to see in a Minister of Health is empathy, and Coleman does a poor job of showing that.

He stood for National leadership last year. At least he didn’t win that, but he is making things difficult for Bill English in an election campaign.

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19 Comments

  1. Oh look another part of the Jacinda story unfolds….. how serendipitous ….

    Reply
    • No, Coleman’s fumbling of health is his own doing. Labour haven’t needed to do much on this, and haven’t.

      Reply
    • duperez

       /  August 3, 2017

      I read the item and couldn’t see any ‘Ardern’ in the story. I read it again, couldn’t find. Couldn’t even find ‘Labour’. It suddenly struck me that it was all about mental health and I must be mad.

      Reply
  2. Tipene

     /  August 3, 2017

    Siloed services anchored in dark ages non-evidence based mental health ideology all competing for the same funding, none of these services having any expectations of achieving positive outcomes for clients, and all headed by a Minister who doesn’t have a blue clue about the mental health sector, but who is too arrogant to admit this learning edge deficit.

    “Incoherent” was the only outcome available to the above mix.

    Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  August 3, 2017

      Neither Coleman nor Bridges inspire confidence that they have got the competence/arrogance ratio right. Tony Ryall did.

      Reply
      • Patzcuaro

         /  August 3, 2017

        As we have seen with Labour, party leadership requires the ability to connect with the media as they are the gateway to voters. Also you have to be able to keep the media in their place without upsetting them. I’ve never thought Bridges had that and it doesn’t look like Coleman has it either.

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  August 3, 2017

          Coleman has the medical background to know what he is talking about in the Hospitals & Medical fields, but he has the bedside manner of the Grim Reaper. Even Tony Ryall projected more warmth than him.

          Reply
          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  August 3, 2017

            In my experience in personal dealings as opposed to media presentation Ryall was friendly, competent and trustworthy,

            Reply
            • Gezza

               /  August 3, 2017

              Rare qualities in a politician.
              Allan Highet was similar.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  August 3, 2017

              Yes, I think both were widely respected.

  3. duperez

     /  August 3, 2017

    Ironical that this item does tie up to Jacinda Ardern in a roundabout way.

    No doubt she does have a carefully nurtured favourable media coverage as said.
    The same for Jonathan Coleman his policies and the reality of them? In recent weeks we heard the fuss about numbers of elective surgeries and saw Coleman deal with the issue.

    Every surgery is important and vital not just to the individuals, but to their families and the community.

    Was it carefully nurtured favourable media coverage which had me thinking that five people having hip replacements with all the attendant people and resources involved would count as a big 5 on the numbers on the elective surgeries list? And 5 people being given their set of three injections by a nurse in a sterile room count as 15?

    Hopefully the 5 with each treatment are happy and recover well. Dr Coleman has done well in creating the impression he wanted to create but when holes start appearing his defence sees a sneering arrogance.

    Reply
  4. Blazer

     /  August 3, 2017

    Coleman ..always the same as health minister or leadership contender. .’close. ..but..no cigar’.

    Reply
  5. Alan Wilkinson

     /  August 3, 2017

    A major mental health issue is that 40% of the population are prepared to vote for Labour and the Greens. No wonder we have a suicide problem.

    Reply
    • Patzcuaro

       /  August 3, 2017

      Can’t see it, people especially the young, seem to be committing suicide because they can see no future under the current regime. Perhaps if we had a change in government the suicide rate would go down.

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  August 3, 2017

        And a change in parenting – like having two, who stay together & actually care about them, rather than just themselves – would probably do wonders as well?

        Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  August 3, 2017

        It would probably go up, Patz, as disillusionment shattered their psyche.

        Reply
      • Trevors_elbow

         /  August 3, 2017

        Perhaps your talking rubbish Patz….. the Government is too blame? You’re kidding. … jobs available for the taking but require WORK… and no one says you’re wonderful for walking In the door.

        Increased numbers have no resilience. .. because they have never encountered failure or been criticised
        When the real world outside school encroaches they can’t cope… drugs enter to give the feel goods and minds start to break down….

        It’s 20 30 year problem in the making but it’s ALL the National Government’s fault…

        Pull the other leg Pat…. it plays the 1812 overture

        Reply
        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  August 3, 2017

          Some have been criticized unfairly. Most have not been encouraged to make their own lives better via plans and actions. Some have been wholly or partly abandoned as Gezza suggests. What is needed is hope and action. The Left promise hope without action. Disillusionment is inevitable.

          Reply

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