The horror of our climbing Suicide rate



Suicide toll reaches highest rate since records kept
The provisional suicide toll has risen to its highest figure since the coroner’s office started releasing the statistics.

From the year June 2014- May 2015, 569 people died by suicide or suspected suicide.

Last year (for the year ending 30 June 2014) that number was 529.

The horror of our suicide rate gives us a glimpse behind the ‘she’ll be right’ veneer of our culture and the dark torment of an alpha male macho mental landscape that is terribly fragile.

Our under funded social infrastructure, our ‘me first’ consumerism, our 30 years of neoliberal mythology, our disconnection from one another, our untreated pain, our lack of hope from grinding poverty in a first world country, our toxic masculinity, our unspoken rape culture, our inability to express emotion beyond anger – all of this demands questions we don’t want to hear as a society and the shame of suicide continues to hide and smother any healing.

We huddle frightened on these lonely grey crags at the end of a jagged world and slowly one by one slip off into the swallowing dark. Until we are prepared to confront many of the individualism-over-all myths and rebuild our tattered communities, our suicide rate will remain darkly reminding us of our whispered deceptions.


  1. *Warning* Heavy sarcasm alert….
    No doubt the nats will be looking for an upside, so let’s help them. Just think of all the tradeable commodities in mental health that we are creating for the outsourcing of social services! So profit making agencies like Serco can line their pockets, the government is seen to be “dealing” to a problem without getting their hands dirty or without having to employ beastly bleeding hearts. The more they screw us, the more money to be made… somewhere….

  2. Before revolution comes repression & desperation of the 99% so suicide is rising as a result.

    The powers that be, along with the corporations, are pillaging and bleeding us all dry for profit, until we eventually snap, as greed knows no compassion so we are on a collision course.

  3. A friends father tried to commit suicide over his perception of the state of our NZ

    How it seems most in politics MSM Corporate NZ are liars, thieves,
    dirty low down unfeeling uncaring crooks

    His absolute helplessness became overwhelming he could see his Clean Green Aotearoa going down the gurler at Star Trek warp speed

    His friends of his age some younger see these drastic daily changes

    In a land of 60 million sheep
    They can’t afford a mutton roast for Sunday lunch

    World class dairy sold cheaper to all except NZers
    They can’t afford regular daily rations for the cuppa
    or feed the cat anymore

    TPPA talks held in secret
    The ones that let us know anything about it are persecuted

    Monsanto in the process of patenting broccoli peas etc seeds
    No more seed collecting or sharing lest our country get sued for denying them their financial rights if or when we sign TPPA

    Health care that doesn’t really care
    health receptionist triage the needed from the needy

    Not being able to call a liar a liar a thief a thief online
    just in case you hurt their sensitive petal feelings, and get fined or jailed

    Children beaten cold sick starving sexually abused
    Now without a caring society to pick up the slack
    from the slack uncaring care givers that were schooled
    by the slack and uncaring educators

    sexual predators tried and jailed with name suppression
    some driving BMW’s to score their drug off the alphabet menu
    going on to murder… more revenue for serco

    ex MPs with permanent name suppression
    because they have more value than hard working NZers

    Beneficiaries who have worked their whole entire adult life in an industry that has moved operations to china
    or some other treaty deal partner country
    In return we receive rubbish disguised as goods to fill our land fills
    faster than the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog

    Their case workers say HTFU and take any job for FA money
    so you can have the respectability from this our uncaring society
    we will even stand and clap you out of our office if you do

    Thousands of innocent people dying the world over
    with obscene and horrifying images played and re-played ad nauseam on TV or pictures in the daily rags, online everywhere you look
    lest we forget who the real criminals are

    Sleazy bloggers flinging the feces around like it is The Truth
    given adoration from the select braindead few that think they are alot

    We painted our friend the picture of a man’s statue being pulled down, like that sad fella overseas, how the people jumped all over it,
    to show him that all bad evil things have a time limit

    He now has that picture hand painted by his grand son pasted on his fridge he smiles every day he reaches for his water,before he goes outside to tend his garden and collect his heritage seeds
    He was directed to TDB and other links to wise words to give him hope
    he now knows there are others that are just as concerned without bigotry racism or sexism, hes not alone and NO more TV news RW blogs or newspapers. He daily has some St Johns wort plus lots of comedy it has helped.
    Happy Birthday Joe
    Long may you live

      • Here here, TE,

        We all Maori & Paheha, now have to unite against these aggressors shoulder to shoulder.

        As we are in an undeclared war with the greedy corporates of their making now who aim to dominate us all while we sleep.

        Joe I am 71 and feel as you but when I look at my mokopuna, I realise its for him I remain here to fight for.

        Keep well Joe.

    • We need more people in our nation with compassion and empathy like that which is revealed in your comments.

    • The situation is depressing. Democracy is dying. I grew up in the UK during Thatcherism which was bloody awful. But there was healthy opposition. You could feel the anger and it was reflected in the mainstream media. There was satire on TV: Spitting Image, the Young Ones, Alan B’Stard, Ben Elton… satirical comics like Oink. I think the healthy dose of satire was our salvation. There was no attempt to suppress opposition. I’m sure things have changed there as well… The BBC for example is looking and sounding more beleaguered every day.

      I long for healthy, spirited, open debate and for more ridicule of this pathetic, selfish, idiotic government.

  4. We need to open a second front for people assaulted by the economic and social failures of government, so that their pain is redirected to constructive ends like building housing, ousting the Key Junta or making tumbrels and coffins for asset thieves.

    • “coffins for asset thieves”

      You jest!

      The price of funerals in Auckland is nearly as ridiculous as the house prices. And the price of coffins is horrid, too.

      But as fertiliser – to go with all the BS… Possibly.

  5. In various isolated patches around the country there are groups of men getting together to support one another in healthier ways than the sports clubs.

    Farmers facing drought or flood and the impacts of silly government policies – they know how.

    Some gays and trans people, they know how.

    It’s absolutely no good waiting for the comfy people in any form of government, or on one-voice committees.

    The most at risk are senior/retired men, and young men – which is not to ignore women at all. But, somehow the patriarchal systems that sustain blokeyness have all the compassion of a bucket of water: once you take your hand out no one knows you’ve been there and life moves on.

    If these people were ‘joiners’ it might help – but so many aren’t. Never have been.

    C’mon guys! How do we connect with these people when the traditional ways are not up to the task?

  6. Well first off, the NZ suicide rate is indeed too high and we need to understand the underlying reasons behind it, particularly amongst youth. I would be looking at drug & alcohol use & fatherless families as being amongst the main contributors, but let the researchers do their work.

    Secondly, the NZ suicide rate is currently not climbing. It peaked in the mid 90’s during the last Labour government and has been declining since that time. Here are the numbers:

    (Using suicide as a political football? Some people have no shame!)

    • Secondly, the NZ suicide rate is currently not climbing. It peaked in the mid 90’s during the last Labour government and has been declining since that time.

      Firstly, Andrew, in your rush to conflate suicide rates with Labour governments, you’ve forgotten that in the 1990s, National was in office. Bolger led National governments from 1990 to late 1997. Then Shipley rolled him, to be his successor.

      Secondly, your eagerness to bring Labour into this, albeit your facts being wrong, suggests you are the one keen to politicise this problem.

      I would be looking at drug & alcohol use & fatherless families as being amongst the main contributors

      Evidence please?

      • Not in the slightest was I trying to tie suicide rates to political parties.

        Martyn is trying to tie it to consumerism.

        If we look at consumer driven societies around the world why is our suicide rates so much higher than theirs? Does that not indicate that there is something else going on which is more specific to NZ?

        I cannot imagine why a young, healthy, sane person would do such a thing. So my tentative conclusion is that their sanity has been affected by drugs & alcohol. And that sort of makes sense when taking into account our binge drinking culture and endemic smoking of the green stuff.

        • All you are doing is highlighting the symptoms, while completely failing to recognise the cause.
          You don’t appear to have a very active imagination to be unable to comprehend what it is that drives people to the levels of despair that motivates them to attempt suicide.
          Obviously, life is good inside your bubble-world.

          Increased consumption of drugs, including alcohol (not drugs AND alcohol), does not cause these spikes in suicide rates.
          Pretending they do is merely your lame lazy excuse for failing to scratch below the surface to identify the real reasons.

  7. This appears to report only the “successful suicides”. The number of suicidal attempts, and the number of people living suicidal life styles would make for still more horrendous reading.

  8. Martyn thank you for writing this. The effects of each of those suicides ripples out and shames us all. “Our under funded social infrastructure” is under too much stress and superficial thinking on social bonds is all the hope this government can offer.

    O the mind, mind has mountains; cliffs of fall
    Frightful, sheer, no-man-fathomed. Hold them cheap
    May who ne’er hung there. Gerad Manley Hopkins

  9. TE – You’ve summed it up in a nutshell…

    Martyn- THANKS for bringing up NEW ZEALAND’s
    ( btw Post 80’s)

    Disgrace : “Suicide figures”

    New Zealanders / KIWI Culture is Dead.

    It Died.

    People never used to want to commit suicide, like they do now, en masse.

    New Zealand , once a Nation, of Kiwis
    is now…no longer.

    THIS IS what NEW Zealand (once a sovereign Nation- )
    has come to,(-since 1990s “Economic Reforms” = NZ taken over /infiltrated

    (…and you can be SURE of THIS):-

    That the no of suicides today is wayyyyy Under-Reported.

    by the CORPORATION NEWS ( ie the usual -TV, newspapers , sources that populations rely on

  10. The NZ government spends billions of dollars a year trying to reduce the road toll. Pity it can’t put the same effort into trying to prevent our young people from killing themselves.

    • Yeah – but they’re not actually trying to reduce the road toll. A lot of the spending is money to mates in the marketing sector, and policies like zero tolerance are more about gouging and oppressing the poor.

      We have a fake democracy – our ‘reprentatives’ don’t care about us. They should be ousted at the very least.

  11. Hmm, the increase seems odd, as we are supposed to live in the delayed phase of a “rock star economy”, being “on the cusp of something very special”, as the government has been telling us.

    Also health care is supposed to have improved, and more is supposed to have been spent on mental health care for youth and prison inmates, so they claim. And last not least welfare numbers are down, because the “booming” economy is creating so many new jobs, and welfare “reform” is doing its bit, “helping” the “benefit addicted” come off benefits, with supposed more “supports”.

    Maybe the equation is not quite what it seems. I wonder whether any of the many who took this sad, desperate last step, were dependent on WINZ benefit support, and who could perhaps no longer cope with life and demands placed on them?

    MSD seems reluctant, or unable, to present any figures on such potential self harm or suicide cases. See this OIA response and the answers given to requests 5 and 10, to get an idea of their approach re such issues:

    Here is a post on that topic:

    Perhaps the increase has other reasons, but looking at the last questions and answers in that OIA response, showing also increases in abuse, assaults and threats against WINZ staff, perhaps there is some reason to be concerned?

    Proper, sufficient transparency has not been offered, I fear.

  12. @JENNY. Thanks for this link. The book ‘What About Me?’ by Paul Verhaeghe, professor of psychoanalysis at the University of Ghent in Belgium is about ‘the struggle for identity in a market-based society.’
    He refers to a study carried out by “Richard Wilkinson a British social epidemiologist, in two studies (the second carried out by Kate Pickett. The guage they used was eminently quantifiable: the extent of income inequality within individual countries. This is indeed a good yardstick as neo-liberalism is known to cause a spectacular rise in such inequality. Their findings were unequivocal: an increase of this kind has far reaching consequences for nearly all health criteria.”

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