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Tb Getting Out Of Control

Media Release

23 March 2004

Tb Getting Out Of Control

New Zealand First is calling on the Government to implement the immigrant health check policy immediately instead of phasing it in over a year, after the release of the latest TB figures for 2003 from Auckland.

“Last year saw a 20 percent increase in TB cases in the Auckland area, with many of the cases being immigrants and refugees,” said health spokesperson Barbara Stewart.

”It is time for the Government to put the immigrant health check policy into action now before we reach epidemic proportions for a disease that was non-existent in New Zealand for many years.

“The reality is that we are importing diseases that we do not want here at the expense of New Zealand people.

“It is the taxpayer who is paying for these people to go into our health system, which can barely look after our own people. This means New Zealanders are being denied treatment because immigrants with TB are ahead in the queue.

“To add to this problem there is a new strain of TB that cannot be cured but only managed. This strain must have been introduced in recent years.

“TB is an expensive and time consuming disease to treat, when it can be treated. The Government has no choice but to implement stringent health checks on all immigrants immediately,” said Mrs Stewart.


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