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Christchurch Hosts Health Conference - Govt

Christchurch has been chosen to host the 13th triennial Commonwealth Health Minister's meeting next year, Health Minister Annette King and Deputy Prime Minister Jim Anderton said today.

It will be the first time New Zealand has hosted the conference. New Zealand was nominated at the last conference, held in Barbados.

Mrs King said the week-long conference will be attended by about 50 Commonwealth health ministers, plus family members and advisers.

Mr Anderton said he was delighted at the choice of his home town. "Christchurch has it all, a well-linked international airport, excellent convention and accommodation facilities all in close proximity. It is also such a beautiful city overseas visitors can't help but be impressed."

Mr Anderton said such meetings often generated parallel events such as symposiums, trade fairs and tourism promotions. "The meeting will provide an opportunity to run such events and to showcase New Zealand. Such events will have to be self-sustaining, but they have the potential to increase the number of visitors considerably.

"It will also be a chance to show off Kiwi ingenuity, and the wonderful scenery and tourist attractions in the South Island and the rest of New Zealand."

Mrs King said the theme of next year's conference will be Priority Setting in Health Systems.

The triennial meetings offered an excellent opportunity to share ideas on contemporary issues, she said. "There is always plenty to share and to learn from a meeting of ministers who have a common interest in the good health of people in their countries."

Mrs King said the Commonwealth Secretariat had yet to confirm the exact timing of the meeting, but it is expected to be in October or November next year.

The Ministry of Health will be responsible for organising the conference, which will be run by the Commonwealth Secretariat. The Ministry will meet other government agencies over the next few months to begin preparations for the meeting.

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