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Red Zone mental health issues won’t go away

Today’s Human Rights Commission report shows that the nightmare of the Christchurch earthquakes has not gone away for a lot of Cantabrians and more money has to be spent on the city’s mental health services, says Labour’s Canterbury spokesperson Megan Woods.

 “For the 340 people who have chosen to reject the crown offer and stay in the red zone their plight is even starker. The Commission’s report says red zone landowners have experienced much lower mental well-being.

“At the heart of this is the Government’s decision to ‘do anything not prohibited by law’ to get the red zone cleared. 

“Commissioner David Rutherford says the Government should have written a recovery plan and involved the red zone residents in their decisions. 

“The sad saga of the red zone underscores how ridiculous it is that Canterbury is still receiving less mental health funding than other parts of the country. 

“The reality is that Canterbury is $23 million short this year between what they get and what they need to spend on mental health. 

“The Canterbury District Health Board overall deficit is forecast to be $35 million at the end of this financial year. The mental health needs of Christchurch’s people are driving this need for services. This shows how out of touch National is with what is happening in Canterbury,” says Megan Woods.