Transforming Mental Health Law in New Zealand

Closed 28 Jan 2022

Opened 22 Oct 2021


We are transforming Aotearoa New Zealand’s approach to mental health and addiction, so that people can get the support they need, when and where they need it. Ensuring we have fit for purpose legislation is one part of this transformation.

He Ara Oranga: Report of the Government Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction recommended repealing and replacing the Mental Health Act with legislation that “reflects a human rights-based approach, promotes supported decision-making, aligns with the recovery and wellbeing model of mental health, and provides measures to minimise compulsory or coercive treatment”.

We have heard why change is needed, and the next step is to get clear direction for what new mental health legislation in Aotearoa New Zealand should look like.

Why your views matter

The Mental Health (Compulsory Assessment and Treatment) Act 1992 sets out when, why and how the government can intervene in a person’s life to give them mental health treatment against their will.

The Mental Health Act has not kept pace with the international shift towards a recovery and wellbeing approach to care and has never been comprehensively reviewed.

Although the current Mental Health Act is only used for a small proportion of people who access mental health and addiction services each year, it has a big impact on the lives of those who do experience it, and their family and whānau.

Your feedback on the topics in this consultation will help the Government develop new mental health legislation. 

You can get help to prepare and submit your submission.

Seeking support

It can be tough making a submission about something that is important to you, or that might remind you of difficult past experiences. You can use a support person/network to help you with making a submission, or for support if you find the process difficult.

If you need additional support, you can also call or text 1737 to connect with a trained counsellor or peer support worker. The 1737 service is completely free and available any time, 24 hours a day. 

What happens next

After the closing date for submissions, an independent external organisation will review and analyse all the information we receive. Then we will develop recommendations for new legislation and give this to the Government to consider.

Once the Government has agreed to the policy for new legislation, a Bill will be created and introduced to the House. This process can take some time, especially for complex legislation like this.

For more information on all of the steps involved, please see the webpage How a bill becomes law on the New Zealand Parliament website.


  • Members of the public
  • Health sector
  • Disability sector
  • Mental health and addiction services
  • Service providers


  • Mental health