Health Minister Andrew Little orders stock take of mental health spending

Health Minister Andrew Little says he's extraordinarily frustrated with the lack of mental health money making it out the door of the Ministry of Health. 

Little is ordering a stocktake of spending after Newshub revealed just five extra acute mental health beds had been added since the Government announced its major Wellbeing Budget two years ago. 

Of the $1.9 billion mental health budget, just $541,000 has been spent on building facilities. 

On Monday, Newshub revealed that Kiana, who has a history with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and bulimia nervosa, had been forced to sleep on a mattress on the floor of a mental health unit.

She was at breaking point when she made a TikTok video, in which she said: "I'm sleeping in a lounge because there's no more rooms."

And she's not the only one. 

"Here is my bed - a mattress on the f***ing floor," Kiana says in the video. 

The Health Minister wants to know what's up too. The Government pumped $1.9 billion into mental health two years ago, and since then, the system has only gained five extra acute mental health beds.

"No, no it's not," Little told Newshub on Tuesday when asked if that's acceptable. 

When asked what he's doing about it, Little said: "Plenty, we've got a $1.9 billion programme."

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern couldn't say how much of that $1.9 billion programme has been spent. 

"Ah, no."

Well, it isn't much. Of the $1.9 billion budget, $235 million was allocated for capital spending - building facilities. 

The Ministry of Health told Newshub $233.8 million of that has been committed to projects. But according to a parliamentary question, it has only actually spent $541,000 of it - a shocking 0.2 percent.

Finance Minister Grant Robertson is unimpressed. 

"Absolutely that is disappointing if those numbers are correct," he said. 

The Health Minister is just plain frustrated.

"Extraordinarily," Little said, when asked how frustrated he is. "This is a Budget we did two years ago."

And two years on, "We seem to be a long way behind actually getting a shovel in the ground". 

Little is ordering a review to find out what the holdup is - where that money is.

"I think it is timely to do a stock take and find out exactly how decisions have been made, where we're at, how far we have to go, and I think that is probably best conducted independently of the ministry."

Because the ministry simply cannot answer his questions.