Judith Collins rips into Govt's mental health spending after just five beds added in two years

Judith Collins says she's "staggered" at the Government's "incompetence" in the mental health area.

Just five beds have been added to the country's mental health services in the past two years, despite a $1.9 billion injection in the 2019 Budget. 

Health Minister Andrew Little has already admitted it's not acceptable, ordering an independent stocktake to "find out exactly how decisions have been made, where we're at, how far we have to go". Finance Minister Grant Robertson told Newshub it's "disappointing".

Questions in Parliament revealed just $541,000 of the allocated capital spending budget has been spent - 0.2 percent.

"Not only have they let down New Zealanders, but they promised New Zealanders so much," Collins told The AM Show on Wednesday. "You saw it with Mike King - he's just given up on them." 

King, a comedian-turned-mental health campaigner, returned his New Zealand Order of Merit medal last week in protest at the lack of progress. 

Collins said she will be taking up the issue with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Wednesday. Ardern in Parliament on Tuesday talked up the Government's efforts to date, saying they had to "build from scratch in some areas" after the previous National-led Government did little.

"The member may like to reflect on her own time in office as to why we have had to do that," Ardern said, adding that she "totally reject[s] the member's suggestion that nothing has happened in this space".

"It takes time to build from nothing."

Collins wasn't impressed, saying she was "staggered at their incompetence".

"All I got yesterday was a lot of fluff, a lot of handwringing, a lot of waving around and a lot of accusations. I want some answers for New Zealanders." 

Where to find help and support: