Rural Proofing the Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission Bill

The Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission Bill, November 2019, is currently going through Parliamentary Health Select Committee so that the public has the opportunity to contribute to the development of the Bill. The Government is working rapidly to have the Bill passed as an Act of Parliament that establishes the Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission by March 2020.

NZ Rural General Practice Network and RHAANZ believes this Bill has major implications for the mental health and wellbeing of the rural communities we all care so much about. So, with next to no time to consult or prepare, last week both organisations made a written submission to the Health Select Committee chaired by the Hon Louisa Wall, and attended by Dr Liz Craig, (Labour), Jenny Marcroft, (NZ First), Dr Shane Reti, Maggie Barry, Matt Doocey and Michael Woodhouse (National).

NZ RGPN were delighted to be invited to also make an oral submission to the Committee today, Wednesday 18 December. A flurry of reorganising diaries and preparation led to Dalton Kelly, Dr Jo Scott Jones and Marie Daly entering the hallowed halls of Parliament to convince the Committee that Rural Proofing is more than just a nice-to-have concept.

That it is a tangible tool by which current and future Governments can be held to account for the mental health and wellbeing outcomes for all rural New Zealanders.

The feedback they got from other organisations presenting at the same time, and from the Committee itself, is that our oral submission was well received. Committee members asked interesting questions and closed with a commitment that the Mental Health and Wellbeing Bill will be ‘rural proofed’. We can’t ask for more than that!

Read their written submissions below: