National Updates

This section is dedicated to providing news items within New Zealand.  This page is interactive and is updated as events happen. If you have a news item or a celebration that you would like us to highlight, please send your write up and pictures to Akatu Marsters on akatu.marsters (at)


Update from Ministry of Health - Richard Taylor, Group Manager: Addiction - 17 August 2020

MoH Line

Kia ora koutou

We wanted to check in with you at the end of what has been an unusual week. During this time, how we behave influences our mental wellbeing. We need to stay calm and alert. We need to be prepared for more changes and ready to move with them. And staying calm helps us to be kind to others.

I will check in with you often and keep you as up to date as I can.  We have a psychosocial response plan, Kia Kaha, Kia Mâia, Kia Ora Aotearoa: COVID-19 Psychosocial and Mental Wellbeing Recovery Plan, which will continue to guide our response and actions. Below are four things that you can do to put this plan into action. It would be helpful if you could share this email (and resources) across your networks to ensure everyone is updated and using consistent messaging.

Take care of your wellbeing
It’s really important to us that you are making sure that you and your staff are safe and well. For some, the news of cases in the community may be unsettling but if we all act now and take practical, proactive steps to look after our mental wellbeing – practicing helpful techniques and accessing support when we need it – we can avoid a spike in mental health distress now and in months to come. There are online mental health and wellbeing information, tools and resources on our website. We have also attached a poster that you can print out that has information about these.

Health Care New Zealand is providing a free counselling service for frontline health care professionals and care workers who are seeking mental health and wellbeing support during the COVID-19 response. Health care professionals and care workers can access this confidential service by calling 0800 820 080 to make an appointment with an experienced therapist.

The Mental Health Foundation and All Right? team have created a Workplace wellbeing during COVID-19 resource, which includes a guide for leaders and also wellbeing tips for healthcare workers. And Te Pou also has a number of useful resources to help support your teams.

Promote mental wellbeing tools
Please use and promote the Ministry’s key health messages (attached), resources and tools. As above, these are available on our website at

The Getting Through Together campaign is a mental wellbeing programme focused on things we can all do to maintain our mental wellbeing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

There is also information and resources specifically for Mâori, Pasifika, new parents, older people and other groups that might be more at risk due to the impacts of COVID-19, from the Health Promotion Agency.

Delivering services
We know you will be relooking at your pandemic plan and ensuring you are working at the right alert level for your organisation and coordinating with your key partners in government and the community to align services that support people's mental health and wellbeing.

Please make sure you and your team are still familiar with all the basic hygiene measures and communicating to people you are providing services to what the alert measures mean in terms of physical distancing, visiting and hygiene precautions that need to be taken.

It's important to let the public know that help is still available, even if you are delivering services a little differently, so please communicate with your clients and community regularly.

The Ministry has today published updated guidance for the use of PPE at Alert Level 2 and we will also be publishing updated advice for Alert Levels 2 and 3 for mental health and addiction providers on our website soon.

Connect people who have broader welfare needs

Keep an eye on the communities you are working with and let relevant social support agencies know if you are aware of people whose broader welfare needs are not being met.

Attached Resources

Finally, we encourage you to sign-up for All-of-Government Unite Against COVID-19 updates so you can get the latest cross-government information about the COVID-19 response straight to your inbox.


Our Call to Action: Implement He Ara Oranga - Mental Health Foundation





Covid-19: Up to half of NZ families now experiencing mental health issues - study


As many as half of New Zealand families say they are experiencing mental health issues in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, a new report has found.

The report by Panadol has revealed half of New Zealand families have experienced depression, anxiety or stress in recent months.

Psychologist Sara Chatwin told The AM Show women have been hit harder. The report found 28 percent of women felt more stressed or anxious than any other time in their life, compared to 21 percent of men.

Where to find support:


MethFunding boost of $20 million of help tackle meth and addiction in the regions

The government is investing $20 million to reduce the damage methamphetamine use is causing to families and communities in the regions.


The Regional Economic Development Minister, Shane Jones, said meth use was killing regional New Zealand.


He said drug users could not sustain a job, which was bad for their whānau, and local employers who needed a reliable workforce.


The Provincial Development Unit is working with police and the Ministry of Health to identify local programmes working on reducing the harm.


Nine community-based providers - in Northland, Bay of Plenty, Hawke's Bay, Tairāwhiti and Otago - will get funding to scale up their programme.


Click here to read article from Radio NZ.


Cannabis Legislation and Control Referendum

In this year's General Election, you can also vote in a referendum on whether the recreational use of cannabis should become legal.

Your vote will be based on the proposed Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill, which has been developed to help give New Zealanders an idea of how the law might work.

The referendum question is:

CR Yes           NO CR

About the proposed Cannabis Legisation & Control Bill

The proposed Bill sets out a way for the Government to control and regulate cannabis. This regulatory model covers how people can produce, supply, or consume cannabis.

The Bill's main purpose is to reduce cannabis-related harm to individuals, families/whānau and communities.

The Bill legalises restricted access to cannabis

The Bill would allow people to possess and consume cannabis in limited circumstances.

A person aged 20 or over would be able to:

  • buy up to 14 grams of dried cannabis (or its equivalent) per day only from licensed outlets
  • enter licensed premises where cannabis is sold or consumed
  • consume cannabis on private property or at a licensed premise
  • grow up to 2 plants, with a maximum of 4 plants per household
  • share up to 14 grams of dried cannabis (or its equivalent) with another person aged 20 or over.

The Bills purpose is to reduce harm to people and communities

The Bill intends to reduce cannabis-related harm to individuals, families/whānau and communities by:

  • providing access to legal cannabis that meets quality and potency requirements
  • eliminating the illegal supply of cannabis
  • raising awareness of the health risks associated with cannabis use
  • restricting young people's access to cannabis
  • limiting the public visibility of cannabis
  • requiring health warnings on packaging and at the time of purchase
  • improving access to health and social services, and other kinds of support for families/whānau
  • making sure the response to any breach of the law is fair.


Every Life MattersEvery Life Matters - He Tapu te Oranga

If you haven’t seen it already, click here for the Every Life Matters – He Tapu te Oranga, the 2019-29 Suicide Prevention Strategy for Aotearoa New Zealand.

  • Suicide Prevention Strategy 2019–2029 outlines the framework and strategic direction for how we can work together in a coordinated way to achieve the vision.
  • Suicide Prevention Action Plan 2019–2024 identifies specific actions that will be undertaken to help achieve the vision, prevent suicide and support people affected by suicide in Aotearoa, New Zealand.


Inquiry ReportHealth & Wellbeing Budget 2019

The Ministry of Health has a stewardship role to transform New Zealand’s mental health and addiction system.  They are leading the work on many of the 13 new Budget 2019 mental health, wellbeing and addiction initiatives.

Detailed information on the funding provided in Budget 2019 can be found on the Government’s Budget website, including other wellbeing initiatives led by other government agencies.

Many of the Budget 2019 initiatives strongly align with the Government’s response to He Ara Oranga, the report of the independent inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction.


Lifting Māori and Pacific peoples’ health outcomes is another important focus of Budget 2019. Funding for this purpose is included in most health initiatives, as well as being a specific focus of others such as the Māori and Pacific workforce development initiatives and culturally-relevant mental health, wellbeing and addiction initiatives.

Infrastructure and workforce

Strengthening the foundations of the health system – both in terms of investing in health infrastructure and the health workforce – is a strong theme of Budget 2019. Over the next two years an additional $1.7 billion will be invested in health sector capital projects.

Boosting the health and disability workforce is also a focus of Budget 2019, including $24.5 million over four years to fund more graduate registered nurses and graduate enrolled nurses to complete nurse entry to practice programmes. It will also fund more nurse coaches, mentors, supervision and better support for new graduates.

Rural health is getting an additional $18 million over four years to provide more GP training placements in rural and regional areas, and rural locum relief for midwives working in rural settings.

Click here to read more of the initiatives from the Ministry of Health website.