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Health Initiatives A Welcome Boost

Initiatives for a "healthier New Zealand" will be welcomed by most fair minded New Zealanders says, Hon Peter Dunne, leader United New Zealand.

"The significant funding boost for mental health to implement the Mental Health Commission's blueprint for mental health services will provide much needed confidence in the sector by giving some real grunt to the implementation of improved mental health.

"Mental health is associated with alcohol and drug abuse, poor educational attainment, crime and violence, poverty and suicide. By providing a funding base to implement the strategy the Government is signalling an intention to give more people individually and society as a whole more opportunity.

"United unashamedly welcomes this initiative and will strongly encourage the Government to continue a strong focus in this area," says Mr Dunne.

He says other initiatives to reduce patient waiting lists and establish new smoking cessation programmes also welcome.

"The challenge is to ensure this new funding is directed to the areas of greatest need, for example, ensuring patients in greatest need get the immediate benefits of the new funding for elective surgery.

"If there are any disappointments in the health arena it is perhaps the lack of a more integrated preventive strategy and a greater commitment to health provision in rural communities.

"United will continue to look for greater commitment in these areas in the future," concludes Mr Dunne.

END

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