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Mixed reaction to Budget

MEDIA RELEASE TO:
All Health Reporters/Chief Executives/Communications staff

FROM: Dr Ross Boswell, NZMA Chairman

DATE: Thursday, 18 May 2006

SUBJECT: Mixed reaction to Budget

The New Zealand Medical Association has welcomed the Government’s campaign to fight obesity, which received a $76 million funding boost in today’s Budget.

“Reducing obesity will take pressure off the health system, as people will be healthier and less susceptible to diseases such as diabetes,” said NZMA Chairman Dr Ross Boswell. “The NZMA strongly supports tackling this major public health problem, and we will do what we can to support this.”

The NZMA welcomed Health Minister Pete Hodgson’s inclusion of workforce as a major priority for health, however, there was no specific Budget announcement of how workforce development would be funded, and the NZMA looks forward to news on this issue.

Dr Boswell also welcomed $16 million for a universal newborn hearing screening programme, and $22 million to continue the meningococcal vaccine immunisation programme.

He said he was disappointed there was no significant extra funding for medical schools, as they were seriously underfunded, a fact acknowledged by the Tertiary Education Commission which had allowed them to increase their fees beyond the Government’s fee cap.

He was also disappointed there had been no increase in taxes on tobacco and alcohol, in particular alcopops, to discourage smoking and young people drinking excessively.


ENDS

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