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Programme to reduce health inequalities

Hon Annette King
Minister of Health, Minister for Racing

18 April 2001 Media Statement

Programme to reduce health inequalities progressing well

“Development of the Government's programme to reduce inequalities in health is now well under way in line with the New Zealand Health Strategy launched last year,” Health Minister Annette King said today.

"The programme includes a wide range of initiatives from the locally focused health action zones in Porirua/Kapiti, South Auckland and Northland, to national schemes aimed at reducing infectious diseases and improving access to key services such as child and youth mental health care.

“This is our response to some of the third world health statistics that have grown over the last decade among the most disadvantaged in our communities,” says Mrs King. “That includes those on the lowest incomes, those in some rural areas, and Maori and Pacific peoples, whose health status has in many respects suffered from the rich-poor gap that opened up during 80s and 90s.

“The government's health measures are complemented by other policies such as the reduction in state rents for many low-income families and increases in the youth minimum wage.

“But we are also recognising that the one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work.

“The Government is acknowledging that Maori and Pacific peoples fared worst as the rich-poor gap widened, by funding capacity-building programmes. These programmes will enable Maori and Pacific communities and their organisations to raise the aspirations and living standards of their people by doing it their way.

“These initiatives, along with other programmes aimed at fighting inequality, demonstrate that we are committed to governing in the interests of all New Zealanders,” Mrs King said.

Mrs King’s comments coincide with the release today of the second quarterly report on progress towards reducing health inequalities in New Zealand. Mrs King also released similar reports covering Women's Affairs, Youth Affairs, and Statistics on behalf of her Cabinet colleague Laila Harre.


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