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New Zealand needs a long-term injury prevention focus

New Zealand needs a long-term injury prevention focus

The Injury Prevention Network supports Labour MP Iain Lees-Galloway call for more focus on long-term strategies to reduce the burden of fatal and non-fatal injury in New Zealand.

The Network’s General Manager, Justine Ropata, says “Fatal and non-fatal injuries are preventable. Here we’re talking about family violence, falls, assault, suicide, drownings and motor vehicle crashes. The estimated cost to society of these injuries is $10 billion per year and despite injury claiming more lives per year than cancer and heart disease combined, the Government is not taking a long-term, combined view for reducing its impacts.”

Ms Ropata questions whether the Governments resources and efforts are focused in the right areas. “There is a disparity in which injury areas receive the most attention. For example the social and economic cost of suicide is as almost as high as that for motor vehicle crashes, however suicide prevention receives only a fraction of the funding and attention. Likewise falls affects more people than any other injury area but the resources it receives is in no way commensurate to the costs and numbers of people involved.”

“Many of our members work directly with injury-affected people and communities to improve their health and situation. It’s these types of organisations and those involved in the research of injury prevention that are crying out for more funding and support to do what they do. The policy development and social-change marketing that the Government agencies do are important, but so are the grass-roots programmes and initiatives direct to the community that should also be included in a long-term strategy.”

“There are many good things happening in our sector – we’ve just had a great year for low drowning and road death statistics and the recent legislation around lowering the adult drink-drive limit and the tightening of the sale and supply of alcohol are certainly steps in the right direction. But what the injury prevention sector is lacking is a long-term, up-to-date Government strategy that extends further and addresses where the best effort and resources are required to reduce the substantial social and economic burden of injury in New Zealand.”

The Injury Prevention Network of Aotearoa New Zealand is the national voice for injury prevention advocating for the reduction of intentional and unintentional injury.


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