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The BulletinSeptember 19, 2018

The Bulletin: Stark stats show youth mental health crisis

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

Good morning, and welcome to The Bulletin. In today’s edition: Stark stats show youth mental health service crisis, US China trade war could hurt NZ, and Netsafe dismisses complaint over negative media coverage.

Mental health services for young people are at crisis point, as some stark new statistics show. More than a thousand people under the age of 18 have had to wait more than two months to see mental health support services, reports Newshub. And that’s just the most extreme wait times – more than five thousand had to wait more than three weeks for an appointment. The statistics also show a significant number of children aged under 11 need mental health support, and are having to wait a long time to get it.

Recently there have also been stories about Lifeline not having the resources to answer every call, missing one in four. The issue is that when you need mental health services, it’s not on a whim, or something that is healthy to put off. They’re needed then and there.

Is anything being done about it? Yes, but the going is slow, and the new government has disappointed some in the area with their progress so far. In the last budget, they were accused of cancelling around $100 million in spending for mental health initiatives, and instead setting up a $10.5 million pilot programme for free counselling for 18-25 year olds.  Campaigners have long wanted better mental health education in schools, and just this morning an insurance firm announced it would partner with Life Education Trust to help support that.

But the scale of the issue is immense, and growing. Partly that is because people are more aware than ever of the importance of mental health issues, and less willing than ever to sweep them under the carpet. But the numbers are a warning that supply of services isn’t coming close to meeting demand.

The latest round of tariffs pushed by US President Donald Trump could impact New Zealand, reports Stuff. Trade minister David Parker says while he doesn’t think the impact is likely to be large, there’s basically no upside or opportunity to be gained from them. There are also plausible scenarios in which the US, China and other countries retaliate against each other by putting more subsidies in place for their own countries, which then ends up hurting NZ’s exports, even if those exports aren’t directly affected by tariffs. And Newshub is reporting this morning that China is retaliating, to the tune of about $60 billion dollars.

Netsafe won’t be going ahead with a Harmful Digital Communications Act request made by Sir Ray Avery, over negative press coverage of his business, reports Newsroom. The HDCA is not particularly clear about how complaints made against media should be treated, because the law leaves that open. However, the original intent of the law was to target things like cyberbullying and revenge porn.

Some Kiwibuild apartments have been redesigned after enquiries from One News resulted in the discovery that they were too small for banks to lend on. Banks generally insist on 40sqm as a minimum size for lending a Kiwibuild sized deposit, but some of the apartments were going to be just 39.2sqm. Cosy!

The government has taken some hits recently for their openness and transparency (or lack thereof) so credit where it is due. Cabinet papers will now be proactively be released within 30 days of decisions being made. I saw this first on the No Right Turn blog, where the author noted that it was a “huge step forward,” but with some caveats. These included that 30 days is longer than the standard timeline for Official Information Requests of 20 days, and that material may still be hidden through redactions.

Catholic church sex abuse has been a slow burning scandal in Dunedin recently, and more pressure is being piled on by the ODTThe rector of a Catholic College is refusing to respond to calls for his resignation, over ”enabling a self-confessed child sex offender to continue teaching students at St Bede’s.” The offending did not take place while the teacher was at the school, but a confession came years before the teacher retired.

The NZ Herald is doing a commemorative edition today to mark 125 years of women’s suffrage, guest edited by PM Jacinda Ardern. And if you jump ahead to about 11.35 of this video, you can see her sitting in on an editorial meeting. Perhaps realising that editorial meetings are a unique kind of torture for participants, let along audiences, the Herald wisely filled the rest of the hour long video with some very cool stories of pioneering women.

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Table for one?

Right now on The Spinoff: Judy McGregor writes that universities still have a long way to go on gender equality. Emily Writes took her kids to the zoo, and lived to tell the tale. And I’ve been finding these absolutely hilarious – Ra Pomare has some handy phrases in te reo for navigating single life.

In light of the Stuff longform piece called Unseen, about the infiltration of an activist network by a spy, here’s another piece to read. It’s from the New Yorker,  and is about a British police informant who had a child with an activist he was using for access to an animal rights group, and then disappeared from her life, only to reappear again as someone completely different. The piece also comes highly recommended from The Spinoff’s managing editor Duncan Greive, if that swings it either way for you. Here’s an excerpt:

“One evening in the fall of 1987, Bob had agreed to watch Francis at Jacqui’s flat. “He rung me up as usual in the morning and said, ‘Don’t go out tonight—I need to talk to you,’ ” Jacqui recalled. “I thought he was going to tell me that he’d met somebody else. So I waited until he came back and straightaway said, ‘Yep, what is it?’ ” Bob told Jacqui that he wanted to put the baby to bed before they talked. He went upstairs and laid Francis in his crib.

Jacqui recalled, “I could hear him on the baby alarm, which I’d deliberately switched on, and he was saying goodbye to him and telling him that he loved him, and that he’d be back as soon as he could.” Bob came downstairs and, according to Jacqui, said that he had to leave because of the investigation into the Debenhams bombing. He was going abroad, and, for a while, it might be difficult to communicate. As soon as it was safe, he said, he would write. Jacqui could bring their son to visit him in Spain.”

That’s more like the Silver Ferns of old. They’ve smashed South Africa by a massive margin in the Quad Series, reports Stuff, to break a losing streak stretching back to the Commonwealth Games. The win was built on a ruthless start that led to a 17-7 first quarter lead, and from there it was pushed out further to a final score of 61-37. A win against Australia is unlikely, but who knows what a bit of confidence could do…

From our partners, Vector’s Beth Johnson writes that if you get a cheque in the mail, no, it isn’t a scam. It’s just the Loss Rental Rebate system in action.

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