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Minister Overworking Tooth Fairy

22 August 2006

Minister Overworking Tooth Fairy

The Tooth Fairy will be overworked to the point of taking industrial action if the Government does not act to radically improve the provision of dental services to children says New Zealand First’s health spokesperson, Barbara Stewart.

“The revelation that nearly half the five year olds in this country had dental problems in 2004 sneaked into the public domain on Sunday.

“Those figures are at least 18 months old so numbers are probably even higher by now and parents could legitimately ask if anything is being done to remedy the situation.

“The Government has undertaken to provide free dental care for children but seems to be falling down on the job in most areas, said Mrs Stewart.

“So far we have had a facilities and services review, followed by the launch of a five-year programme to improve free dental health services for under-18s. Then it was back to the drawing board with the establishment of a national steering group to have another look at dental services.

“Yet another grand announcement about the Government’s vision to rebuild the children’s dental service must be imminent. This will no doubt present a photo opportunity for the Minister, accompanied by children with mouthfuls of sparkling white teeth.

“Unfortunately this is far from being the reality for a growing number of New Zealand children, said Mrs Stewart.


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