Wairarapa News - - OUT & ABOUT -


May I dis­agree with Rick Long’s opin­ion?

I stood for Wairarapa DHB in 2013 and again in 2016, both times un­suc­cess­fully. Rick is not alone in his lack of ap­pre­ci­a­tion of the causes of sui­cide and I will stand again against the think­ing es­poused by Rick.

It is time we ad­dressed the lack of un­der­stand­ing sur­round­ing men­tal health.

We have ma­jor pub­lic health is­sues in Wairarapa which will not change while the at­ti­tude pre­vails that the vic­tims are, in some way, the cause of their own prob­lems - or that they are able to fix their prob­lems by ab­stain­ing from a par­tic­u­lar genre of mu­sic in which they may find some re­lief. These ideas show a great dis­re­spect for those seek­ing help.

To make com­ments that en­cour­age the stig­mas sur­round­ing men­tal health is un­ac­cept­able, es­pe­cially from some­one who is in a po­si­tion of in­flu­ence such as Rick.

There is an avalanche of re­search deal­ing with the causes of the prob­lems we have in Wairarapa and I can safely claim that all of it is ig­nored by those charged with our pub­lic health poli­cies. It is not OK to treat de­pres­sion as if it is a choice and or to call anx­i­ety a per­son­al­ity trait.

We treat de­pres­sion with an­tide­pres­sive drugs which cause sui­cide. We treat can­cer with drugs which cause brain dam­age. We don’t eas­ily recog­nise PTSD. We still con­done bul­ly­ing at all lev­els of our so­ci­ety.

The list goes on. One can­not blame the vic­tim - or the vic­tim’s choice of mu­sic.


Is NZ to face the prospect of manda­tory wa­ter-fluoridation?

A bill be­fore Par­lia­ment may trans­fer de­ci­sion-mak­ing re­spon­si­bil­i­ties from local coun­cils to District Health Boards, which are con­trac­tu­ally obliged to carry out Min­istry of Health pol­icy. Crit­ics see im­pend­ing Cen­tral Govern- ment con­trol and manda­tory wa­ter fluoridation. With only 4 per cent of the world, and 23 out of 67 NZ coun­cils flu­o­ri­dat­ing their wa­ter, wa­ter-fluoridation is al­ready a highly con­tentious is­sue.

97 per cent of West­ern Europe has re­jected wa­ter-fluoridation on the same is­sues at the fore­front of NZ’s anti-flu­o­ride de­bate - po­ten­tial health risks and the ethics around ci­ti­zens’ right to in­formed con­sent be­fore tak­ing med­i­ca­tions.

It is top­i­cal use of flu­o­ride (e.g., in tooth­paste) not sys­temic (in wa­ter) that is ef­fec­tive and coun­tries that have re­jected wa­ter-fluoridation, have mod­elled new ap­proaches, that we could pilot in the Wairarapa e.g. Scot­land’s Childsmile-pro­gramme

Launched in 2001, tar­get­ing the same so­cio-eco­nom­i­cally de­prived chil­dren as the NZ wa­ter­flu­o­ri­da­tion pro­gramme; it of­fers su­per­vised daily tooth-brush­ing in school with flu­o­ride treat­ments, free den­tal check-ups, and education for fam­i­lies on diet and avoid­ing sug­ary drinks.

Poor oral hy­giene, poor diet and sug­ary drinks cause not only den­tal de­cay but also other child­hood dis­eases e.g. di­a­betes, obe­sity, asthma.

The pro­gramme has re­duced den­tal de­cay and cost ben­e­fit rates sig­nif­i­cantly more than New Zealand’s, halved gen­eral anaes­thetic surg­eries, and saved the den­tal bud­get 5 mil­lion pounds a year. It is pre­ven­ta­tive, holis­tic, ef­fec­tive and safe and im­pacts pos­i­tively on the whole health of the child for the life span.

Eleanor Harper

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