Jonathan Coleman – Asshole of the Week | The Jackal

12 May 2017

Jonathan Coleman – Asshole of the Week

We all know that the National party prescribes to the ethos that doing less is more. They’re unfortunately stuck in a quagmire of neoliberal dogma that is ensuring increased social dysfunction.

Clearly inequality is directly related to the population’s health and wellbeing, so it’s little wonder that New Zealand’s mental health statistics are worsening.

Don’t confront those who’ve caused this increase in societal harm though. Providing information about the stark realities of National’s anti-New Zealand agenda is a good way to get harassed by a minister who’s legally protected by parliamentary privilege.

On Tuesday, the current Minister of Health Jonathan Coleman went on the attack and tried to discredit an organisation called Action Station who are the authors of a report that details what’s going wrong with the mental health system.

With an attitude like Jonathan Coleman's you can really see why there’s little cross party cooperation going on. Coleman has simply dismissed the report outright and the five hundred submitters to it because he believes it's all somehow a big left wing conspiracy. What a complete moron!

Yesterday, Marianne Elliott on the Spinoff skilfully rebutted Coleman’s accusations:

Not ‘anti-Government’ but ‘pro-democracy’

Coleman accused ActionStation of being a group of “anti-government protesters”, and implied that the fact we campaign on a wide range of issues is the problem. Because the only appropriate way to engage in human rights and environmental advocacy is by choosing one issue and sticking with it?

We’re guided by the priorities of our community members, and people don’t exist in silos. Many of the people who want better mental health services in New Zealand are the same people who want to make sure that their KiwiSaver funds are not invested in cluster munitions or land mines. Go figure.

Nope, we’re not anti-government, even when our members think the government could be doing better, or more. But we are pro-democracy, and we think in healthy democracies there is space for debate, critique and, yes, protest. Although protest isn’t a tactic our community employs often. Generally we prefer to start, at least, by using the pathways built into our democratic processes, like making submissions to select committees and presenting petitions to MPs.

It’s unfortunate that things like incarceration and suicide rates have also increased markedly under a National government. Both of these are directly linked to mental health services or the lack thereof.

Sadly prisons are being used as a proxy for our closed mental health institutions and a lack of frontline services, which is giving rise to headlines like this:

Prisoner at risk of self-harm tied down for 37 consecutive nights, investigation finds

The use of restraints on mentally ill prisoners amounts to torture and undermines New Zealand's status as a civilised country, a leading lawyer says.

Nigel Hampton, QC, said a damning investigation into tie-down beds and waist restraints in jails showed the Corrections Department did not appear to have learned from previous inquiries into the care of severely ill people behind bars.

"It's inhumane and it's small wonder that it can be described as torture," he said.

National’s lack of any proper planning and policy implementation concerning our mental health services is a travesty that should not be so easily dismissed by an old throwback like Jonathan Coleman.

Providing a small amount of funding increase in election year (funding that was previously cut) isn’t a long-term solution to New Zealand’s societal problems. The dysfunction of National’s penny pinching and cuts to frontline services will cost the government and tax payers much more in the long run.

Jonathan Coleman’s arrogance and outright dismissal of Action Station’s unbiased report on mental health services clearly shows that he’s part of the problem and not part of the solution. The right wings blinkered view and head in the sand attitude is why Coleman wins this weeks Asshole award. What a prized prick!