MOH At Parlt. Discusses Paritutu Dioxin & MeNZB
Scoop Audio: Ministry Of Health Q&A At Health
Discussion Of Paritutu Dioxin
Contamination & MeNZB Vaccine
Audio & Images by Alastair Thompson
Parliament's Health Select Committee's Annual Financial Review of the Ministry of Health provides an annual opportunity for opposition MPs to question the Ministry's top Officials about matters of public interest.
While each MP on the committee gets an opportunity to ask officials questions on what interests them, unquestionably the questions of Green MP and committee chair Sue Kedgley provided the excitement in today's session. In two sets of questions Ms Kedgley inquired about two matters which have recently been the subject of high profile investigative television documentaries.
Health Committee chair Sue Kedgley
First on "The Kedge's" agenda this morning was the Paritutu Dow Agriculture Dioxin Contamination issue recently highlighted on TV3.
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Stephen McKernan & Dr Don Matheson
Director-General of Health Stephen McKernan and his deputy, Deputy Director-General, Public Health Dr Don Matheson answered questions about how they came to misinform their Minister on the provision of serum test data to scientists involved in studying the toxic contamination in the suburb of New Plymouth.
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Stephen McKernan & Dr Jane O'Hallahan
Next to face a good questioning in the public interest was Director of the MOH's Meningococcal Management Program Dr Jane O'Hallahan. Supported by her boss Stephen McKernan Jane O'Hallahan explained how much trouble had been caused by a Norwegian documentary about the MeNZB Vaccine broadcast by TVNZ's Sunday Programme.
At the end of her Q&A with Dr O'Hallahan Sue Kedgley asked the MeNZB program manager whether she beleived there was any limit to the number of vaccines that infant immune systems could cope with. Dr O'Hallahan replied that in theory there was no limit and provided the antigens were all contained in one shot an infant could be safely exposed to 1000s of them. At present New Zealand infants are innoculated against 21 different diseases.