Mighty River Power and Mental Health

This week, my government sold off a state asset power company. It didn’t go as well as it could have, but it was ok. And how is this relevant to me?

It cost the government $100 million to float the company. Brokerage fees and various sundries totalled more money than I will ever see in my life.

Meanwhile, I am waiting for a bed in respite care. I live in a hospital area that serves 140,000 people. One in five of us will suffer mental illness – so that’s 28,000 people. And catering for this area is one emergency respite care house. With three beds.

So my country can justify selling off a state asset, that’s making the country money, and running up a hundred million dollar bill while doing it – but they give my District Health Board enough funding for THREE respite beds.

I’m not the worst off though – that award would go to Mid-Central DHB, which serves 158,000 people, and has precisely no adult respite beds. It’s the ward or nothing there.

Mental health is woefully underfunded. I can guarantee that very little of the one-time $1.7b capital raised by the sale of Mighty River will come our way. But a fragment of the hundred  million it cost would make a huge difference to mental health patients and workers.

We are invisible. We are underserved. And we deserve better.

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