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Hodgson to Australia for Health Ministers' meeting

17 November 2005

Hodgson to Australia for Health Ministers' meeting

Health Minister Pete Hodgson leaves for Australia this morning to attend the Australian Health Ministers' conference.

The conference is held three times a year and is attended by the Australian Health Minister and state level ministers. New Zealand's Health Minister traditionally attends the conference as a full participant.

Pete Hodgson said there were a number of important issues facing the health sectors in both New Zealand and Australia that would be discussed at the conference.

"New Zealand and Australia do not approach health policy in exactly the same way and we each have a number of issues to face that are unique to our countries," Pete Hodgson said. "There are, however, many challenges that we face together where it is vital that we share our ideas and experience.

"One of the most pressing issues we will discuss is how we can work together to plan for a possible influenza pandemic. I will be discussing New Zealand's recently released pandemic planning framework with my Australian counterparts."

Other items on the agenda include childhood obesity, changes in the aged care sector and challenges faced in oral health care.

Pete Hodgson will be accompanied by Director of Public Health Dr Mark Jacobs. Dr Jacobs will brief ministers and senior officials on New Zealand's progress in planning for an influenza pandemic.

ENDS

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