New Zealand Law Society - Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission Bill introduced

Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission Bill introduced

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The Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission Bill was introduced on 14 November 2019. Minister for Health David Clark is in charge of the bill.

The bill aims to establish a Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission that will contribute to better mental health and wellbeing outcomes for people in New Zealand. It will also contribute to improving equity for Māori, Pacific peoples, disabled people, rainbow communities, and other groups that experience poorer mental health and wellbeing outcomes.

The Commission will be established as an independent Crown entity to provide independence from the Government of the day.

Part 1 contains preliminary provisions, the Treaty of Waitangi clause (clause 3), definitions (clause 4) and the operative provision for Schedule 1 (clause 5).

Part 2 establishes the Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission (clause 7).

Clause 8 provides that the board of the Commission consists of 2 to 5 members who collectively must have knowledge, understanding, and experience of specified matters. Clause 9 imposes collective duties on the Commission in addition to the collective duties that are owed under sections 49 to 53 of the Crown Entities Act 2004.

Clauses 10, 11 and 12 set out the objective, functions, and powers of the Commission.

Clause 13 requires the Commission to establish mechanisms to ensure that there are effective means of seeking the views of certain people and groups when performing its functions.

Clauses 14 empowers the Commission to obtain information. Clauses 15 limits those powers when the information is personal, collected under the Statistics Act 1976 or information that a revenue officer must keep confidential under section 18 of the Tax Administration Act 1994. Clause 16 sets out restrictions that apply to the publication or disclosure of information obtained by the Commission under clause 14.

The operation and effectiveness of the Commission will be reviewed 5 years after the legislation comes into force (clause 17).

The bill comes into force on 9 February 2021.

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