A 4500-signature petition to save Nikau House has been presented on Parliament’s steps by cyclists from Nelson.
The petition condemns a proposal to shut the mental health facility’s doors as part of a restructuring of mental health resources.
The plan has been met with passionate opposition with a number of protests, petitions and public meetings being held to try to save Nikau House.
Nelson MP Nick Smith says the petition must force a Government rethink of the facility’s closure.
“Nikau House is a vital community based mental health service for Nelson. Its closure contradicts the Government’s promise to expand community mental health services and the recommendations of the Mental Health Inquiry.”
Nick says mental health services in Nelson are being reduced with Nikau House closing and 25 per cent cuts to the number of clinical psychologists and consultant psychiatrists.
“Waiting times for accessing psychological services that were only a few weeks under the previous National Government have now blown out to six months under the Labour Government.”
Nick raised the issue of the proposed closure on June 8 after receiving leaked documents from the DHB.
He says National would use the power of the Minister of Health through the letter of expectations and annual plan process with the DHB to require Nikau House to stay open.
Nikau House member Daniel Timms was also at Parliament to help present the petition with Nick and Nelson Labour candidate Rachel Boyack.
Daniel has been a vocal advocate for the service and says he fears he could end up back in the psychiatric ward without it.
“I will feel lost and have nowhere to go.”
Daniel has suffered with mental health issues all his life and says Nikau House has been a lifeline and haven for him.