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Children's oral health an indictment on King

Dr Paul Hutchison

National Associate Health Spokesman

7 May 2004

Children's oral health an indictment on King

The fact that more than half of New Zealand's five-year-olds have dental problems is a serious indictment on the Health Minister and her Government, says National's Associate Health spokesman, Dr Paul Hutchison.

He is commenting on a background report released, which showed that 47% of five-year-olds and 15% of 12 and 13-year-olds have dental cavities.

This week is Smile Week, which promotes the importance of dental hygiene.

"The Director of the New Zealand Dental Association has said 'the sad thing is that tooth decay and gum disease is so preventable', yet Annette King, a dental nurse herself, continues to sit on her hands," says Dr Hutchison.

"The Minister constantly criticises the work of previous governments in this area but her own policies have failed to make any impact and huge numbers of children have teeth riddled with cavities.

"She has spent the past four years creating a hugely costly, complex and inefficient bureaucracy and has completely neglected simple issues like children's oral health," says Dr Hutchison.

ENDS

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