David Clark should step down over suicide rates - Māori Council

There are calls for the Health Minister to resign over the country's high suicide rates.

Provisional statistics released by the Ministry of Health this week found 553 people took their own lives in 2016.

Matthew Tukaki, who is a board member for Suicide Prevention Australia and currently executive director for the New Zealand Māori Council, told Newshub David Clark needs to go.

"The only reason he's staying in there is because there's nobody else better to do the job. Now if one minister can't handle the jandal then they go and find another head somewhere else.

"Maybe it is time to split the portfolio."

Dr Clark was not actually the minister in 2016.

Three times as many men died by suicide than women in 2016. Tukaki said more specialised services are needed, including in areas like small business or rural communities.

But what he's most interested in is a new Suicide Prevention Strategy, New Zealand's last one ended three years ago and still hasn't been replaced.

"We had a draft suicide prevention strategy in 2016. We're now in a situation three years later where there is still no national suicide prevention strategy."

A draft document was released to the public on April 12, 2017. Consultation on the plan closed on June 26, 2017. 

Stuff reports the plan was put on ice before the 2017 election, but a new one titled "Every Life Matters" has been put to stakeholders for consultation.

Where to find help and support: 




This story was amended on July 12 to make it clear David Clark was not the Minister of Health in 2016, when the statistics were collected. Newshub apologises to the minister for the omission.