20 Aug 2012

Associate minister urged to give up health portfolio

5:58 am on 20 August 2012

A suicide prevention group is calling on Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne to give up his portfolio, saying he has done little to tackle suicide rates.

Latest Ministry of Health statistics show 522 people took their own lives in 2010, up from 510 deaths in 2009. The suicide rate peaked in 1998.

Mr Dunne says the numbers are coming down, but Casper says that is not the case.

Chief executive Maria Bradshaw says Mr Dunne should be calling for urgent action.

A spokesperson for Mr Dunne says he and the Government take suicide very seriously as shown by work on a national suicide strategy which will be out next year.