Dave Macpherson: Don’t sound so surprised that sweet f— all has happened with mental health, Andrew!


Seeing Health Minister Andrew Little claim he’s “extraordinarily frustrated”  that almost nothing has happened to date with the $1.9B allocated in the 2019 Budget for mental health services and facilities, significantly diminishes the standing of a a Government Minister previously thought of as competent and ‘on top of his portfolio’.

When Little was Labour’s Leader, he earned a lot of plaudits for his public stance on mental health – a basket case for years under previous governments – as did his replacement, and current PM, Jacinda Ardern.

Collectively they convinced New Zealand that what was then a disaster zone would get money and attention thrown at it, sufficient to tackle the horrendous toll that poor mental health and its evil offshoot, suicide, was inflicting on the country, particularly the youth.

Only we’ve had two Health minister’s since Labour became Government and nothing has changed; or to be more precise, while Budgets have got better, they haven’t been used in any measurable sense, and the state of the country’s mental health has further deteriorated.

I hear the cries from Labour stalwarts ‘they inherited a mess from National, give them time’, etc. As a Labour Party member myself, I reject such deflection….it works a little for your first term in Government, but it wears awfully thin when you hear only 5 new mental health beds have been created after 4 years in office, not even keeping pace with four weeks of population growth, let alone community need! And this is despite $1.9B new money being allocated.

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Mental Health advocate Mike King was not joking (his former profession) when a few weeks ago he returned his medal received from the Government because of services to mental health – he is absolutely seeing the community need and feeling the frustration about the lack of action.

Andrew Little has been around long enough to know that if you leave the same bunch of bureaucrats and patch protectors in charge of mental health, you will get the same results as you have had for years. Only this time it is a supposedly progressive Government being attacked for inaction by both their right-wing opponents and those in the community dealing with the consequences of the inaction.

There has been no noticeable change in the Ministry of Health‘s mental health ‘leadership’; the District Health Boards’ responsible for implementing change are not being required to show how they are implementing on-the-ground improvements to mental health services; and the senior psychiatrists and mental health managers are still protecting the same patches that they have for 30 years.

Despite all the right words being used by the PM and her Ministers, the community still isn’t being given any more influence in the running of mental health services than it previously had; and all the hoopla of the Mental Health Review and its resulting Mental Health Commission have only delivered yet another bunch of yes-men and yes-women too scared to stick their heads above the parapet.

In all my years of politics and community affairs, I have yet to see a turkey that willingly voted for an early Christmas, so don’t be surprised, Andrew, that sweet fuck all has changed, when you have left the same turkeys in charge!


Dave Macpherson – TDB mental health blogger & Former Waikato DHB Elected Member whose son was killed by public health incompetence. 


  1. This has definitely taken Andrew Little from potentially capable to undeniably useless, along with so many others.

    He is quite sadly a man of hot air and good intentions that is of no use to the community who he wanted to serve as prime minister, no less.

    • That comment says more about you than anything useful.. Have I come back to a country full of small minded whiners, and am I looking at proof that the Key government truly did chase all the smart ones away? These blog sites here are becoming really depressing reading… This is exactly the right environment for yet another colonial privilege/exploitation economics party government to take the power back.. And won’t that “fix” everything up right….

      • I really don’t know what you find acceptable about the dire state of our mental health system.

        You also seemed unconcerned that nearly 2 billion dollars set aside for our abysmal mental health system to allow it to drag itself out of the gutter has gone unspent whilst trememdous needless suffering goes on.

        And finally for such an observant sophisticated dude, you seem to be unconcerned that not one but two ministers have not taken not the slightest bit of interest in what has happened to nearly 2 billion dollars of tax payer funds.

        And I guess for a learned international man such as yourself, you couldn’t give a shit, which says an awful lot about you!

    • I concur ‘X’. He’s a nice fulla but fuckn useless at his jobs. As a Treaty Minister, he’s been asleep at the wheel and let his officials go rogue! So much so, they got nailed earlier this year in the Court of Appeal for, and I’ll paraphrase what the judge said, “you’re all a lying pack of bastards!”.
      4.5 settlements since 2017 is pretty shit and one of them this year for my iwi is fraudulent! Long story short but, the entity that signed the Deed of Settlement did not have a legitimate mandate!

  2. We’re busy doin’ nothin’
    Workin’ the whole day through
    Tryin’ to find lots of things not to do
    We’re busy goin’ nowhere
    Isn’t it just a crime
    We’d like to be unhappy(professional), but
    We never do have the time

    This could be the present L.I.N.O party new party song. It would then at least do as the ‘tin says’.

  3. “…..so don’t be surprised, Andrew, that sweet fuck all has changed, when you have left the same turkeys in charge!”
    I’m afraid it’s the same elsewhere in many PS roles. and you really would think that by now Labour have woken up to it all.
    They have complete “faith” in their officials – the senior and muddle management bureaucrats that go from one fuckup to the next. Even their underlings can see the bleeding bloody obvious and usually now spend their time looking for alternative employment opportunities.

    I didn’t leave Labour – Labour left me is something they might find in the next couple of years.

    • Yes; but isn’t the problem how do you get rid of these ‘officials’ without ending up in protracted employment disputes. There is nothing like a crisis to show up where ‘roadblocks’ are.

      • True @ Peter. But even before Chippie’s supposed reforms (not much more than changing the State Services to the Public services), there were avenues that have never been taken by “captured” politicians. (I think Pablo understands the concept of ‘capture’ best).
        Underperforming CEO’s who repeatedly underperform and repeatedly don’t deliver on policy as agreed in all those purchase agreements with their KPIs and various other corporate bullshit; those that make mistakes and then keep repeating them after promising their processes and procedures have been updated; etc;, etc., etc – put it on the State Services Commisar. And if it doesn’t improve, then the SS Comissar obviously isn’t doing his job.
        And when their current terms expire – don’t just shunt them off to some other government gig where they can start it all over again.
        And start proper reform now, realising that under current ‘settings’, reform might take a while – at least till one or terms expire (actually more like about 15 or so). Cut golden handshakes; don’t reappoint muppets elsewhere to reek havoc. And if worst gets worse – promise them a bloody knighthood or an ambassadorship in Sierra Leone.

    • I totally agree this governments best effort has been to waste our taxpayers money on so many failed ventures !

  4. Labour is finding out that their whole phylosophy of “let’s just throw more money at it” isn’t worth jack if you have no management ability.

    • Yet again we see the divide between ‘governance’ and ‘management’. It seems to me management are busy protecting their cosy patches of turf. I wonder how much of the money already spent made it past the bureaucracy to the coal-face?

      • Ahh, someone finally with their finger on the pulse. Well said Peter. Whilst those of us nurses, O.T.s, social workers , support workers, at the core of mental health continue to raise concerns, management and those at the executive level use threatening language if we escalate those concerns. This leads to false reporting to Little and government and protection of management roles. I’d suggest Littles review incorporates those at the coalface. Only then will Little get real understanding of the mess mental health is in. I have many examples.
        So there are many as John plainly puts it, “turkey” comments , with minimal knowledge making comments.

        • Thanks Bert. I once heard it said that the greatest hinderance to progress in NZ is the restrictions put on the ‘rank and file’ Public Servants as to their ability to make public comment.

  5. ‘.previously thought of as competent and ‘on top of his portfolio’.


    I’ve only known of his being a mendacious coward. And thoroughly disorganised

    Ya get what ya vote for. And the people of NZ voted for incompetent liars, yet again, at the last election.

    Expect the current mob of clowns and criminals to make everything a lot worse before they get kicked out, and replaced by another bunch of clowns and criminals.

  6. We need to gut the civil service. They are a set of individuals hell bent on protecting their ideological purity, and damn the population for not agreeing with them.

    Come on Andrew, if the forced implementation of the disability plan in the Southern DHB was not a wake up call to you how wooly headed, and ideological these Muppets are – I don’t know what is.

    This is just more of the same. We have a Ministry of Health, hell bent on not producing the best outcomes for the population – time for change.

  7. BG
    I highly doubt that Labour have learnt anything other than throwing money at things. That is what this Govt does – that is their ideology and the sum total of their skillset. That is all they know. They do not know how to manage, a vital skill of any minister. Take the top dog in charge of Child Poverty…’we have allocated more money’ she says. There you go, job done, all is fixed now, queue the PR photos. The only thing they are really good at is to constantly invent fiddly laws that rely on us abiding or them si.ply ruling by decree. Like the gun law, now the free speech law and other assorted taxes and fiddling with bank loan rules. As if that would build one more house! As for anything really vital to the improvement and growth of NZ as a country, anything that will move us up the ladder in th OECD, anything to do with the economy, anything that requires real project and budget management and oversight and ownership of responsibility…well, they are a total kindergarten govt. I wish we had Helen Clark back in charge, and lean to the right!!!!

    • “I highly doubt that Labour have learnt anything other than throwing money at things. That is what this Govt does – that is their ideology and the sum total of their skillset.”
      I wonder what level of micro-management you expect from a Minister. What the latest crisis have identified is the incompetence of senior and middle public services managements who seem to look after their position yet keep dropping the ball.

      • Dear Peter
        “I don’t know what happened to the 1.9 Billion for mental health” is not micro management. It’s a macro management crime. In business, that would be a forced resignation or sideshift. Faffoi’s and JA’s answers where not micro-management, they where pathetic macro management – they don’t know the consequences of the very law they have designed and they threw the cops and the judges under the bus rightaway.
        Then you say: What the latest crisis have identified is the incompetence of senior and middle public services managements who seem to look after their position yet keep dropping the ball.
        Well, last I checked, ministers has the power to fire them???? Clearly this goivt doesn’t have the respect and the clout to deal with the problem. In business, that is macro management failure. That would be a resignation or side shift at best.
        We don’t have a government. Don’t lower yourself to their level by making excuses for them. It’s a disgraceful kindergarten. But hey, as long as Ed Sheeran plays at the wedding, then we are all happy.

        • Thank you for the sagely advice but I still believe NZers think some magic wand exists in Parliament that will magically cure all of societies ills. Yes, I agree ‘kindergarten’ seems apt, sadley at the moment especially on the opposition side. I wait to see how Minister Little will solve the current underspend of the allocation and how much of it will end up at the coal-face. Cheers.

  8. “don’t be surprised, Andrew, that sweet fuck all has changed, when you have left the same turkeys in charge!”.. Precisely… My question is… How much of a drama, and how expensive in monetary terms, and time wasted by those same senior managers “defending their patch” will it be to install management that is actually competent in the areas they need to be for the reforms to work? Is it a factor that the drones occupying the top echelon in the ministry are literally unfit to do the job asked of them? Is it the reality that removing these bludgers has been made deliberately difficult by a tory government that has had mountains of practice at undermining any thing that even hints at egalitarianism, of demonstrates a true social conscience? I have heard (very quietly) that it is an exercise in frustration to remove even the most obviously unfit managers from the ministries.. It may even require a rewrite of the way senior staff are hired, and the parameters of their job descriptions.. And how loud is the screaming going to be if this is undertaken with a will? And how loud is the “news media” going to reinforce every single word of the self serving ones as hard as they can? Frustrated? you can bet the farm on that one…

  9. Yes a kindergarten government defended by kindergarten supporters.
    Never owned a business, never ran a business yet by self appointment are experts.
    Never added anything useful to New Zealand no jobs, no economic benefit no Improvement to GDP but still actually think they are superior?
    Good solid Kiwis keep New Zealand going while these self appointed experts contribute only words.
    They are intent to divide New Zealand like we have never seen before.
    We have to stop them now!


    • What a load of nonsense John.
      So why did National fail our country in the 9 years they had when all their ministers ran businesses John, why? Doesn’t sound like a recipe for success.
      Wages stagnated, the brain drain occurred whilst they flooded our country with cheap labour.
      Education and health were left to degenerate and where are those ministers now? Joyce,Key English, Coleman,Ryall, Bennett, Smith etc? The damage they caused is irreversible.
      If this is a kindergarten government in your eyes, that would make them a toddler government.
      We have to stop people like you . Your unabated comments with no evidence is more dangerous than hate speech.

  10. Well said Bert. A country is far more than a business; it takes far more than business acumen to run. Often successful business people fail miserably at being politicians; the required skill sets are very different. We saw under the 9 years of National an alarming rise in inequality and a running down of many social services; it is now up to Labour, now rid of Peters, to turn those statistics around; an unenviable challenge given the institutional and financial forces against them.

  11. Gosh Bert that’s mean.
    The evidence is plain to see.
    Almost every campaign promise made by the Labour Party has not been achieved or it’s worsened.
    That includes the portfolio Jacinda Ardern took upon herself to improve things for children.Things have deteriorated for children?
    This is not evidence with me as the source but the brutal truth of the statistics.
    Not sure how referring to facts constitutes hate speech?

    • John, would you be happy if National or Act were in power, and if so which faction? Did National address the increasing mental health crisis whilst in power; or was it another crisis they failed to even acknowledge was happening?

    • What facts? You keep repeating ad nauseum and keeping making the same mistake. For once back up your…
      “Almost every campaign promise made by the Labour Party has not been achieved or it’s worsened.”

      WITH EVIDENCE, not your repetitive mumbo jumbo.
      Read Peter’s above reply.

  12. The grubby bloated Mental health beaurocracy should be made to pay the money back-there’s only so many catered lunches they can go to….

  13. The statistics in the public domain support everything I say?That is the evidence Bert irrefutable.
    Why do you constantly refer to the past when I’m referring to the present?
    Peter at the moment Labour are in power and that’s what I’m commenting on.
    Their record of achievement versus their election promises.
    Surely you’re not asking me to list them?
    Anyway chaps have a lovely day.

    • Oh dear John I give up on you. No evidence, no idea. As for your posts on present day, have you any original thoughts or just media repeats, right wing media repeats I mean. And if they are original, can you supply us with evidence for your critical thinking. At the moment there’s a few jigsaws missing from the puzzle?

    • You do remind me of National ministers John, name calling Little “turkey”, government “Kindergarten ”

      Hardly surprising your immature comments recieve the responses they do.

  14. Ok thanks Bert I’ll take aboard your sage advice.
    I defer to your intellectual superiority.
    Thank for putting me on the right road.

    • Yeah, things are accelerating at increasing speeds. Try not to freak out. Panic is the tool of imbicils and charlatans.

  15. Tremains cartoon proof Bert.Graphically so.Picture paints a thousand words.
    At my age to be described as immature a compliment thanks for that.

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