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Tariana Turia - 'Weaving the Strands’ Speech

Hon Tariana Turia

31 october 2001 Speech Notes

Opening speech to “Weaving the Strands’ inaugural conference of Injury Prevention Network of Aotearoa/New Zealand, Victoria University, Wellington

Mihi

Thank you for the opportunity to open your conference today. I am delighted to be with you as you celebrate your achievements at your first conference.

It is very encouraging to be able to highlight the progress you have made since the Injury Prevention Network of Aotearoa New Zealand (the Network) was established and consider the Network’s original list of objectives:

- You have raised the profile of injury prevention through leadership and talking with a collective national voice.

- You have started to facilitate better communication and collaboration between the various agencies and organisations involved in the injury prevention sector.

- Your Network’s efforts have also been instrumental in improvements in the quality of injury prevention workforce training.

- You have helped community groups and community groups have started to devise new and more appropriate responses and solutions to injury prevention.

These achievements are the result of the efforts of many. I acknowledge the Network’s National Coordinator, Valerie Norton, your Chair Margaret Devlin and your Deputy Chair, Molly Pardoe.

The work of the Injury Prevention Centre in Tamaki Makarau and the Injury Prevention Research Unit in Dunedin has also been invaluable, as has the ACC’s vital and ongoing contribution.

Relevance for Maori

An important part of rediscovering and reasserting our tikanga and mana will be achieved by improving injury prevention among whanau. Injury robs our whanau of their spirit and energy and undermines their quality of life.

Too many of our whanau have to endure unintentional injuries and the impacts of them, such as drownings, traffic-related injuries, serious burns and poisonings.

The “she’ll be right” mindset our people have adopted is no longer acceptable. We can no longer tolerate our high rate of injuries, whether it be in a motor vehicle at our workplace, or in our homes.

Too many of our families are without fathers, brothers, uncles, aunts and cousins all as a result of injuries that were fatal. In 1997 for example, 13,500 people were hospitalised as a result of traffic-related injuries.

This is a high toll in human misery and besides economic losses the greatest loss is that of healthy family interactions.

The potential to free up resources by preventing injuries, is well illustrated by another 1997 estimate that unintentional injuries accounted for 13 percent of the disorders being treated in public hospital day-patient and inpatient services.

Real and significant progress is being made. The rate of hospitalisation for traffic-related injuries is falling, and the various initiatives and programmes that many of you are overseeing, are showing positive results.

I now want to turn to the theme of your conference “the collaboration for safety “ which is also the topic you have provided for my address.

The Government’s perspective is essentially your perspective and we share your view of the importance of the “3 Cs”

- Collaboration

- Co-operation

- Creating a culture of safety

Collaboration

The Government’s over all vision for health, laid out in The New Zealand Health Strategy, identifies increased collaboration as a vital component of a successful public health system and to improve the health status of all New Zealanders. The Draft New Zealand Strategic Action Plan for Public Health also identifies inter-sectoral collaboration as a key strategic direction.

Collaboration and an inclusive approach is a valued part of the concept of Primary Health Organisations, as signalled in the Primary Health Care Strategy.

Collaboration is also the key to a Continuum of Care in the Draft Health of Older People Strategy. This is especially relevant in the area of injury prevention that requires collaboration among health professionals and a range of community organisations and government agencies.

The provision of car seats for children is an example of such collaboration as is the Waitakere injury prevention programme.

Coordination

Coordination is crucial. The involvement of several agencies requires good coordination, such as the provision of smoke alarms in the Bay of Plenty region. I acknowledge the presence at the conference of the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC), the Occupational Health and Safety Service (OSH), the Land Transport Safety Authority (LTSA) and the New Zealand Fire Service.

The government is keen to promote collaboration and coordination of government agencies, community organisations, and worker advocacy groups, such as unions, that leads to improvement through a more proactive inter-sectoral response to injury prevention.

The causes of unintentional injury are beyond the scope of any one agency, because they are part of the broader range of determinants of the health of communities and populations that requires a public health approach.

Intersectoral action including building constructive relationships with groups across all affected sectors, in an effort to influence these broader determinants, is absolutely vital. I am pleased to see this reflected in some of the papers that will be presented at this conference.

Creating a Culture of Safety

Lastly, I want to turn to the third and perhaps most important part of the vision for preventing injury - creating a culture of safety.

We now expect a level of cultural competence in the services being delivered.

A “culture of safety’ must evolve and it too must become an integral part of the training, practice and promotion across all sectors to better serve the injured family members and their families, but also those agencies and groups involved in the response and those impacted on through it.

I will also continue to advocate for the health system to give greater recognition to the skills and knowledge of iwi and non-traditional provider groups as one of the most important ways of redressing this imbalance.

I am heartened by the work of your Network’s Maori and New Zealand Caucus structure. This structure recognises Maori as partners and the special perspective, expertise and knowledge that Maori bring to injury prevention.

I must also acknowledge the good work of the Injury Prevention Workstream of the Public Health Directorate of the Ministry of Health and its development of a Maori Injury Prevention Action Plan for Public Health Purchasing.

This plan is to be developed over the next six months and will involve consultation with a range of iwi and Maori injury prevention providers and managers from the ACC, LTSA, New Zealand Fire Service and the Ministry of Health.

Other recent developments include injury prevention workforce workshops. Workshops have been run with a strong focus on Maori Injury Prevention Strategies. As you know your Network also organised a successful hui in Palmerston North that attracted a large number of Kaimahi Maori.

Existing community projects with a strong whanau, hapu and iwi development focus are also going from strength to strength.

The very recent establishment of a Maori Community Injury Prevention Project in Tuhoe’s rohe through Te Kaokao o Takapau also holds great promise.

The appointment of Iwi Liaison Officers by the New Zealand Fire Service has also been extremely successful as well as the appointment of Kai Tohutohu Maori in the Eastern Bay of Plenty and the Waikato.

New Zealand will be the first country to have a national health policy that integrates intervention for both mothers and children. Traditionally, these related problems have been dealt with as separate issues.

Conclusion

Once again, thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak with you today. You can look back on your Network’s first year of existence with pride and look to the future of injury prevention with confidence and hope. A lot has been achieved in a short time and there is every reason to look forward to continuing progress based on collaboration, cooperation and creating a safety culture. I hope you make good contacts, pick up new and interesting ideas, and have some fun while you are here.

Tena koutou, tena koutou, tena koutou katoa.

ENDS


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