Selwyn and Ashburton Outlook - - OUT & ABOUT -

‘‘Vote health should in­vest in hauora, not ex­ac­er­bate ten­sions,’’ Reedy-Taare said.

Green party can­di­date Me­tiria Turei said poverty was the lead­ing cause of poor health for whanau Ma¯ ori.

‘‘Of course our kids will get sick with rheumatic fever when you can’t af­ford to rent a warm dry home, or have to live in a garage. Of course they stay sick if you are too scared about los­ing your low paid job to take time off to go to the doc­tor. And some­times our tamariki don’t sur­vive it - up to 50 chil­dren die each year from poverty ill­nesses.’’

She said the first Greens so­lu­tion was to in­crease ben­e­fits and wages, so par­ents could af­ford de­cent homes, good food and pay the bills. The sec­ond is more hauora Ma¯ ori and pri­mary health care for whanau.

‘‘We have cham­pi­oned a wa­hakura (a safe sleep­ing pod) for ev­ery new­born to re­duce SUDI and we will in­crease fund­ing for Ma¯ori men­tal health, given suicide rates for ran­gatahi Ma¯ ori are so high. Our tamariki de­serve bet­ter.’’

Na­tional’s An­drew Fal­loon said over the next three years Na­tional would con­tinue to grow health fund­ing, de­liv­er­ing bet­ter re­sults for New Zealan­ders and their fam­i­lies. ‘‘Our strong and grow­ing econ­omy al­lows us to in­vest more in the health ser­vices we need in Can­ter­bury. This year, Can­ter­bury DHB will re­ceive an ex­tra $51 mil­lion; in to­tal Na­tional have grown health fund­ing in Can­ter­bury by 36 per cent since 2008.

Elec­tive surg­eries are up 44 per cent, orthopaedic elec­tive surg­eries up 63 per cent, and hip and knee re­place­ments up 70 per cent.

‘‘Men­tal health is one of our most chal­leng­ing is­sues, af­fect­ing a large num­ber of New Zealan­ders. I’m com­mit­ted to us do­ing more to help those most at risk. As part of a $224 mil­lion in­crease in men­tal health fund­ing this year, we’ve es­tab­lished a $100 mil­lion fund aimed at find­ing in­no­va­tive new ways to help vul­ner­a­ble Ki­wis suf­fer­ing from men­tal health is­sues.’’

TOP’s Olly Wil­son, a reg­is­tered nurse and pas­sion­ate about re­tain­ing qual­ity public health ser­vices, said our public health care sys­tem had in­ter­na­tion­ally punched above its weight, but was fac­ing ur­gent and long term chal­lenges. Lo­cally, there had been a sub­stan­tial in­crease in men­tal health ill­ness, he said.

TOP pro­posed a 10 per cent in­crease in al­co­hol ex­cise tax and highly reg­u­lated cannabis law re­form, gen­er­at­ing $450 mil­lion that could be di­rected to youth and men­tal health ser­vices.

‘‘In­ter­na­tion­ally ris­ing health­care costs are due to ris­ing ex­pec­ta­tions, ag­ing pop­u­la­tion and new tech­nolo­gies. To de­liver sus­tain­able public health­care we must in­vest strongly into pre­ven­ta­tive health to de­crease chronic ill­ness; cur­rently only 2.7 per cent of our health­care bud­get is spent in this area.’’

Act’s Tom Cor­bett said money was needed for a bet­ter health sys­tem. ‘‘If we do not grow the econ­omy all we will be do­ing is re­ar­rang­ing the deck chairs on the Ti­tanic; that is more money in health is less money in some­thing else.

‘‘New Zealand must fo­cus on eco­nomic growth to in­sure we keep up with the world in health ser­vices and can af­ford the new and much wider range of drugs and pro­ce­dures that are be­com­ing avail­able on the world mar­ket.’’

Mojo Mathers from the Greens said public health had been sys­tem­at­i­cally un­der­funded for many years.

‘‘As a re­sult peo­ple are not able to ac­cess the health sup­port they need.

‘‘The Green Party will pri­ori­tise preven­tion and early treat­ment. We will ensure that vis­its to the doc­tor and pre­scrip­tion charges are free for ev­ery­one un­der 18 and a nurse in ev­ery decile 1-4 school.

‘‘We will re-in­tro­duce com­pre­hen­sive health pro­grammes to pre­vent ill­ness caused by to­bacco, al­co­hol and other drugs and un­healthy food and drinks.’’

They also recog­nised the im­por­tance of ac­cess to healthy homes and ad­e­quate in­comes to im­prov­ing health out­comes, and would bring in a war­rant of fit­ness for all rental hous­ing and ensure ev­ery­one had enough to live on to stay well and healthy, she said.

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