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Blame Poverty for Ill Health, says Labour

Taito Phillip Field MP
Labour Pacific Island Affairs Spokesperson

Media Statement

9 August 1999

Labour Pacific Island affairs spokesperson Taito Phillip Field today backed up comments by the chief executive of South Auckland Health about the poor state of health in South Auckland.

Nine years of National government has seen most South Aucklanders worse off in terms of income and housing.

National’s policies have left families unable to afford state house market rentals. Instead, people are living in garages, caravans and over-crowded conditions in mid-winter. Such living conditions are clearly to blame for the poor health in the community.

The result of this rising tide of poverty is growing ill health in the community. Under-resourced public hospitals, like Middlemore, are left struggling to cope with the influx of patients suffering from preventable diseases.

The combination of failing health system and increased poverty is the re-emergence of diseases usually associated with the Third World, like tuberculosis and meningitis.

Efforts must be focused on alleviating the problem of unaffordable, inadequate and overcrowded housing for the South Auckland community and low income families. That means abolishing market rents for state housing and returning to income-related rents.

Instead of giving tax cuts to the richest New Zealanders, the next Labour government is committed to rebuilding the public health system and improving the health of our communities, Mr Field said.

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