Minister of Health on colonisation and youth suicide

In an interview with NZ Herald new Minister of Health David Clark linked youth suicide with colonisation – New Health Minister David Clark on youth suicide: We have a problem and we need to talk about it

Labour campaigned on mental health and pledged the return of the mental health commissioner and an inquiry into mental health.

Terms of reference and other details around the inquiry were yet to be settled, Clark said, but forecast it as wide ranging, considering issues of colonisation and poverty.

He spoke of “hardship, or the after-effects of colonisation, or trauma in their own lives or personal histories”.

He was questioned about this in Parliament yesterday.

Hansard transcript (slightly edited):

7. Hon Dr JONATHAN COLEMAN (National—Northcote) to the Minister of Health: What quantifiable health service improvements, if any, will his policies deliver?

Hon Dr DAVID CLARK (Minister of Health): This Government is committed to providing affordable access to quality healthcare for all New Zealanders. This will happen in many ways; there are too many examples to list. However, to pick just one, I can tell the member that more people will be able to access affordable primary healthcare.

Hon Dr Jonathan Coleman: By exactly how much will he lift the number of elective surgeries above the 174,000 delivered in the past year, given his commitment to increase access to elective surgery?

Hon Dr DAVID CLARK: I will not be rushed into committing to specific targets. I want a health system that is honest and transparent with targets not like the previous Government’s one, which was pumping statistics by performing Avastin injections and skin legion removals that could have been done in primary care.

Hon Dr Jonathan Coleman: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. It was a very direct question. If he doesn’t have an answer, he should just say so.

Mr SPEAKER: No. I probably was a bit slack letting him go on after he answered the question in the first sentence.

Matt Doocey: By how much will he reduce the suicide rate over the next three years now that his Government has taken responsibility for the rate, as reported in the New Zealand Herald yesterday in the article entitled “… New Health Minister pledges change on youth suicide”?

Hon Dr DAVID CLARK: One suicide is one suicide too many. I do not believe it will be possible to eliminate suicide in the first term of this Government, but we are committed to lowering the rate of suicide in New Zealand, and I am looking forward to beginning the mental health inquiry.

Dr Shane Reti: What did he mean exactly by his statement to the New Zealand Herald yesterday that addressing colonisation will be an important part of his mental health inquiry?

Hon Dr DAVID CLARK: That is one factor that I said to the New Zealand Herald I expect will come up in the inquiry.

Hon Dr Jonathan Coleman: Can he explain the improvements his policies will have on the link that he believes exists between colonisation and youth suicide?

Hon Dr DAVID CLARK: This Government will commit to a mental health review—an inquiry, a ministerial inquiry—and that inquiry I have asked to be broad. It will cover a variety of topics, including the one the former Minister has raised, and I expect it to provide answers that will help us to provide mental health services that New Zealanders need.

It was a topic that the Minister raised in his interview with the Herald.

New Zealand has an alarmingly high level of youth suicide, and of all types of suicide. The annual suicide toll is now over 600, far higher than the road toll that has had huge funding to try to reduce it.

It is an urgent problem that needs action faster than a general mental health review, and the causes of suicide are much wider than just mental health. Many of those who commit suicide are never in the mental health system.

“I do not believe it will be possible to eliminate suicide in the first term of this Government” – it won’t be possible to eliminate suicide in any time frame.

“…we are committed to lowering the rate of suicide in New Zealand…” – as was the last Government, without success.

“…and I am looking forward to beginning the mental health inquiry” – I’d like to see more urgency and action than that.

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49 Comments

  1. robertguyton

     /  November 15, 2017

    Pete; on what do you base your claim that National, when in Government, were “committed to lowering the rate of suicide in New Zealand”?

    Reply
  2. Corky

     /  November 15, 2017

    ”In an interview with NZ Herald new Minister of Health David Clark linked youth suicide with colonisation .”

    Bugger off, Clark. You pig ignorant fool. One more reason why this coalition will be a short term affair.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  November 15, 2017

      Watch your fkn langauge eh Corks? 😠
      This is a farno-friendly blog!

      Reply
      • Ray

         /  November 15, 2017

        Fair enough Gezza, didn’t know you are the ref. but I note you let this nasty language past yesterday.
        Blazer / November 14, 2017
        Finlayson has no cred..nominated himself as a Q.C…dick head writ large and queer to boot.

        Reply
        • Corky

           /  November 15, 2017

          Big difference between what I wrote, and Blazers comments, Ray.

          Reply
          • Corky

             /  November 15, 2017

            Add to that Gezzas Maori piss-taking

            Reply
            • Gezza

               /  November 15, 2017

              There should be an apostrophe before the s in Gezzas, Corky!

          • robertguyton

             /  November 15, 2017

            Tempting to say, “put a cork in it”.

            Reply
            • Corky

               /  November 15, 2017

              I’m tempted to say go back to The Standard. That you aren’t over there enjoying your victory makes me wonder why you are here. There can only be one answer. And it consists of one five letter word.

            • Gezza

               /  November 15, 2017

              I’m tempted to say go back to The Standard.
              Go on then – I dare you to say it!

            • PDB

               /  November 15, 2017

              Don’t feed it Corky – only increases the manic posting rate.

            • robertguyton

               /  November 15, 2017

              “There can only be one answer. And it consists of one five letter word”.
              Gleee?

        • Gezza

           /  November 15, 2017

          I’ll have a word the bstd later, Ray. But he doesn’t usually fkn lstn.

          Reply
  3. sorethumb

     /  November 15, 2017

    There is truth to the link between colonisation and suicide in so far as we have evolved for simple tribal living. On the other hand our carrying capacity (population ) requires a division of labour and reward based on merit. Therefore we have people living in a fragmented society.
    The big tribal cheifs have not accepted that NZ has reached peak prosperity and keep adding people. What’s more they try to create a super society where a super ordinate national identity is stronger than any other but cannot demonstrate the advantages (except for the few )

    Reply
  4. PDB

     /  November 15, 2017

    It is no coincidence that NZ has very high youth suicide rates, child abuse rates and youth alcohol & drug abuse rates. Maori are over-represented in all three areas and blaming colonisation will lead us further down the wrong path if we truly want to reduce the problem.

    Giving more money in the form of welfare (specifically no obligation welfare) to the abusers & addicts will also not improve the situation.

    Reply
    • phantom snowflake

       /  November 15, 2017

      I’m aware of other explanations, but I’m quite interested in your explanation as to why “Maori are over-represented in all three areas…” Maori are somehow genetically morally inferior or what??

      Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  November 15, 2017

        Culturally inferior – at least for a numerically significant sub-culture. A sub-culture that does not value education nor know how to bring up children to live well and succeed in the modern world.

        Reply
        • phantom snowflake

           /  November 15, 2017

          “The modern world.” Do I detect a belief in the superiority of Western Civilization; something akin to White Supremacy? Do tell.

          Reply
          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  November 15, 2017

            A world in which physical intimidation and strength is of limited value and knowledge is power.

            I really had to tell you that? Pitiful.

            Reply
            • phantom snowflake

               /  November 15, 2017

              I’ll take that as a “Yes”, and accept your pity.

            • PDB

               /  November 15, 2017

              One can be proud of what Western civilisation has achieved and also not be a white supremacist.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  November 15, 2017

              I don’t see it as Western civilisation. It is a global modern civilisation that has many roots and contributions including Indian and Chinese. We have the advantage of learning from them all.

            • phantom snowflake

               /  November 15, 2017

              True, PDB, but I considered the term “culturally inferior” to be quite revealing.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  November 15, 2017

              I’m sure if you experienced it you would find it deeply harmful as well which is why I designate it inferior.

            • phantom snowflake

               /  November 15, 2017

              “I really had to tell you that? Pitiful.” You continue to express contempt and derision towards those who disagree with you. That is not something that one would experience in a typical Wharenui!

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  November 15, 2017

              Get off, snowflake. Your implication of white supremacy crap was full of contempt and derision. I simply derided that which you thoroughly deserved. Suck it up.

            • phantom snowflake

               /  November 15, 2017

              I can’t help but uptick that one!

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  November 15, 2017

              Favour returned.

        • Gezza

           /  November 15, 2017

          Ridiculous overgeneralisation. There are thousands of hardworking, decent, law-abiding, Maori people who are well-connected to their Marae and their iwi’s culture & who can and do successfully navigate both the Maori and Pakeha worlds.

          Reply
          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  November 15, 2017

            Of course there are. But that is not the sub-culture that sends so many to prison and an early death.

            Reply
            • Gezza

               /  November 15, 2017

              And that sub-culture is NOT Maori culture, Sir Alan. If you suggest that it is, then I would take the greatest of care in eating any food treats Possum might offer you when we encamp at your salubrious cottages, lest you be later stricken with the most appalling tikotiko at the worst possible moment.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  November 15, 2017

              It is a sub-culture of Maori, Sir Gerald. This seems to be a difficult concept for you to grasp.

            • Gezza

               /  November 15, 2017

              Wait’ll I get up there Sir Alan. I’ll be bloody grasping something!

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  November 15, 2017

              We’ll see, Sir Gerald. I suspect you might find Possum is actually on my side of this one.

          • PDB

             /  November 15, 2017

            This discussion is specifically on the Maori/other cultures within the statistics, not the majority that aren’t.

            Reply
      • High Flying Duck

         /  November 15, 2017

        Maori are brought up being told their problems are all externally caused. ‘Colonisation’ sums it up as well as any label can..
        If your problems are external you have no ability to fix them. Therefore life becomes hopeless.
        People brought up on the understanding that their lives are theirs to control for better or worse and that they have the power to make decisions that will determine their success and happiness will generally have better mental health.

        Gross generalisation I know, but when you are talking about “over-representation” of groups then you are talking in generalisations.

        I would bet Maori who leave NZ and come out from under the colonial blame culture are not over-represented in any negative statistic.

        Reply
      • PDB

         /  November 15, 2017

        Nothing to do with genetics or colonization as though Maori are over-represented other cultures within New Zealand are not exempt from the very same problems.

        As to why Maori are over-represented I suggest Alan is on the case in terms of a higher incidence of bad and/or absent parenting (especially in assisting with educating their children) & poor role models within their immediate surroundings including gangs (& the acceptance of them within their communities).

        Reply
        • phantom snowflake

           /  November 15, 2017

          Ok but can you go a bit deeper? What, for you, would explain the prevalence of the phenomena you refer to?

          Reply
        • PDB

           /  November 15, 2017

          Likely intergenerational – especially child abuse/bad parenting/bullying, which would lead many to a life of crime, depression, hate of authority figures/the law, drug and alcohol abuse etc and eventually many to becoming a youth suicide statistic.

          Of course we are talking about the Maori within these statistics, not the large majority of Maori who suffer no such problems.

          Reply
          • Gezza

             /  November 15, 2017

            Ok, that’s fair, imo.

            Reply
            • Gezza

               /  November 15, 2017

              Just popped out quickly to get political feel of 1/3 of the Indian Dairy Owner community. Would’ve preferred National, just, but no major worries so far. On the way back I noticed it must be fat Pakeha nite at the gym. The few Maori guys in there all looked like Aaron Smith.

            • PDB

               /  November 16, 2017

              “The few Maori guys in there all looked like Aaron Smith.”

              Were they all in the toilets?

            • Gezza

               /  November 16, 2017

              Cruel, PDB. Very cruel. Poor Azza.

  5. patupaiarehe

     /  November 15, 2017

    He spoke of “hardship, or the after-effects of colonisation, or trauma in their own lives or personal histories”.

    Rather than write a big long rant, about how utterly irrelevant ‘Te Tirity’ is to the issue of youth suicide, I think a meme is more appropriate. A picture is worth a thousand words…

    Reply
  1. Minister of Health on colonisation and youth suicide — Your NZ – NZ Conservative Coalition

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