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Government puts Public Health Bill on backburner

24 September 2008

Government puts Public Health Bill on backburner: Greens

As Parliament heads into its final week, the Green Party says the Government has lost its nerve, bowed to food and advertising industry pressure, and put the Public Health Bill on the backburner," Greens Health Spokesperson Sue Kedgley says.

"This is a major piece of legislation, updating a 50 year old Act. It has taken years to develop the Bill and steer it through the Health Select Committee. I find it extraordinary that the Government has put political expediency - the fear of upsetting the food industry and the advertising lobby - ahead of the public health and wellbeing of New Zealanders.

"Dietary related, non communicable illnesses are the major public health threat of the 21st century, yet the Government has no powers to intervene to reduce their risk. The Public Health Bill would have finally given the Government some ability to act to regulate to protect against non communicable disease where voluntary self regulation fails," Ms Kedgley says.

"Failure to pass this Bill will leave the Government powerless to intervene to protect public health in the face of mounting rates of obesity, type 2 diabetes and other chronic, dietary related non communicable diseases. We are gravely disappointed that the Government has chosen to put the profits of the food industry ahead of the health and wellbeing of children."

"We call on the Government not to leave our children with a health system crippled by non communicable disease. They had a chance to act, and they should have put public health first."


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