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Dental survey another delaying tactic

Hon Tony Ryall
National Party Health Spokesman

13 July 2006


Dental survey another delaying tactic

The Government's survey of New Zealanders' teeth is yet another example of Labour counting the problem to avoid doing anything about it, says National’s Health spokesman, Tony Ryall.

"Labour has been promising action on dental care for seven years. They've even had a dental nurse as Minister of Health for six of those years, yet things have got worse,” says Mr Ryall.

“Labour can't go on blaming everyone else.

"Annette King was promising action in 1999. Since then things have gone backwards. Report after report has highlighted worsening oral health in many parts of the country.

"This week's Living Standards Report chronicled the worsening situation of the country's poorest people under Labour. These are the very same people whose teeth are being left to rot by the party many of them voted for. When will Labour help them?

"We know what the problem is – primary school kids aren't seeing the dental nurse enough, and teenagers can't get anywhere near a subsidised dentist.

“The number of dentists meeting the specialist requirements of primary school kids fell from 832 in 2000 to 465 in 2005. The same drop-off is happening with services to secondary school kids.

"Instead of counting the problem, the Government should fix it. This survey is just an excuse to do nothing for a further 18 months.”


ENDS

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