"We still have a ways to go" Andrew Little responds to Mike King's anger, returning of NZOM medal

The AM Show 17/06/2021

Health Minister Andrew Little joined The AM Show Thursday morning to discuss mental health in NZ, along with his response and thoughts on Mike King's anger & frustration, leading him to return his New Zealand Order of Merit medal.

On Wednesday, King returned the New Zealand Order of Merit medal he was awarded in 2019 for services to mental health awareness and suicide prevention. 

Andrew Little says the mental health system was "in crisis" when Labour came into government.

"It is why we did the stocktake, it is why we made the investment that we have had," the minister said.

"But we also knew that we were starting a journey that is going to take a few years to put together, recreate a system that is up to the mark for New Zealand and we are partway through that and we still have ways to go."

Little admits there is more work to be done.

"Is it enough? It is not enough now and that is why more has to be done. That is why we are partway through a change of programme. We still have a ways to go."

The health minister also made comments regarding Mike King returning his NZOM medal.

"The courage that he - like many others - have shown to actually step up and speak out and allow us as a country to talk about mental health in a way we have long struggled to."

"He continues to have the respect of myself and all of New Zealand for what he does regardless of how that is reflected in honours and awards."

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