Government's mental health inquiry 'won't fix things' - English

National Party leader Bill English says the expected Government announcement of a mental health inquiry on Tuesday is a red herring for improvement in the area.

In 2017 it was revealed that suicide rates, particularly among youth, had risen for the third year in a row - and calls for change have only been getting louder.

But an exasperated Mr English told The AM Show on Tuesday morning that an inquiry isn't the answer - even going as far as saying inquiries "don't fix things".

He also added that the predicted shutdown of the Better Public Services results, which was established to help deliver more bang for New Zealand's buck under tight financial constraints, would be a mistake.

"The Government's going to abolish those results - which is going to mean dumb, lazy public services - and start inquiries into how to improve them, instead of just focusing on doing a better job for people," Mr English said.

"With mental health services, I'm sure they will find they can be improved - but they're going to spend 12-18 months [carrying out the enquiry].

"In the meantime, there's people who need more help now to help them get off the benefit or deal with some kind of personal crisis.

"Instead, we're going to have a whole lot of bureaucrats running around, talking to each other."

The inquiry, which is one of the few outstanding items on the new Government's 100-day plan, has been described as a priority by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

When asked why National never launched an inquiry into mental health services while it was in Government, Mr English had a simple answer: "Because inquiries don't fix things."

He said: "What we did was put in an extra $100 million, which was based on the evidence of what would have the most impact.

"The Government, if they're going to run this inquiry, I think are playing for time. They're actually short of cash to meet the expectations they've created.

"An inquiry will take them a year and might give them a bit more time to find the cash to do a bit more, maybe in 2020."