Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 

No political party has answer for rural health crisis

No political party has answer for rural health crisis

September 20, 2017

None of the political parties have an answer to solve the growing rural health crisis, a leading rural health expert says.

Michelle Thompson, chief executive of the Rural Health Alliance of Aotearoa New Zealand (RHAANZ), says they surveyed all political parties asking what they will do to help rural health over the next three years.

“While all parties managed to respond, in the end, it was surprising that a week out from the election that none of them had clear information on how they would provide equitable rural health funding,” Thompson says.

“This demonstrates the parties haven’t really understood the specific challenges rural people face accessing health and social services due to factors such as low population density and/or isolation.

“There is the mentality that a single health policy fits all. Yet, we know that taking an urban policy and imposing it in a rural setting seldom works. A new government needs to help remove barriers so rural people’s health is considered just as important as those who live in cities.

“We don’t even have a nationally agreed definition of what rural is, in terms of health services in New Zealand. This is shameful given our reliance on the rural economy.

“Having a fit for purpose definition of rurality was one of two key election asks we made to politicians yet there is no mention of this in their summaries.

“Nor is there mention of our second election priority which is the need to rural-proof government policy. The concept here is that our policy makers need to consult with rural communities and business when developing policy to make sure they have understood the rural reality so that their policies don’t actually make health inequities worse.

"Without rural proofing and a standard definition, we cannot hold our policy makers to account for equitable rural health outcomes, nor can we help Government ensure our scarce resources are used in the wisest ways.”

On a positive note, Thompson says it was pleasing to see politicians: starting to talk about Kiwis deserving the same standards of care no matter where they live; a willingness to review and increase funding for the National Travel Assistance scheme; acknowledging the need to produce more health professionals willing and able to live and work in our rural communities - via vehicles such as the establishment of a national rural health school and an expansion of the voluntary bonding scheme.

All parties acknowledged the need to improve mental health and addiction outcomes for rural people as a priority. Thompson says RHAANZ is looking forward to working with whichever parties make up government post 23 September.

There are at least 600,000 people living in rural New Zealand, effectively making up our second largest city, so it is imperative a new government provides equitable health services for urban and rural New Zealand.

Agriculture and tourism are the powerhouses of the Kiwi economy. Every year, more than two and a half million tourists visit rural New Zealand. In 2011-2012, $53 billion, or 25% percent of GDP, was generated directly or indirectly by the agri-food sector, from rural New Zealand.

ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On Another Reason To Loathe HR Departments (And On The Teachers Strike)

This morning’s news item about Police emergency call centre staff turning up for work while they’re sick – because they’re afraid their sick leave statistics will be used against them, and their jobs put in jeopardy – is not an isolated case...

Obviously, sick people shouldn’t be being treated by doctors and nurses who are themselves sick and potentially infectious. Similarly, Police emergency calls also need to be fielded by people who’re feeling alert, and on top of their game. More>>

 
 

MPs' Computers To Be Searched: Inquiry Into Leak On Simon Bridges' Expenses

An inquiry has been launched to find out who leaked the National Party's expenses to the media... Parliament's speaker, Trevor Mallard, said a Queen's Counsel would lead the inquiry with the help of an employment lawyer and also someone with forensic IT skills. More>>

ALSO:

Teachers Strike: Nationwide Rallies And Marches

Teachers and principals voted for a full day strike to be held on 15 August to send a strong message to the Government that the current collective agreement offers from the Ministry of Education would not fix the crisis in teaching. More>>

ALSO:

Wellington.Scoop: City Council Ends Its Support For Jackson’s Movie Museum

The Wellington City Council and the Movie Museum Limited have today announced a mutually-agreed parting of the ways for a joint project between the Council’s Convention Centre and TMML’s Movie Museum... Both parties remain optimistic for the future of their respective projects. More>>

Pay Equity: Historic Settlement For Education Support Workers

The New Zealand Educational Institute (NZEI) and the Ministry of Education today signed Terms of Settlement to address a pay equity claim for 329 support workers who work with very young children in early childhood and primary schools. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Stereotypes About Jacinda Ardern

Routinely, female politicians get depicted as either show ponies or battle axes, with little room for anything else in between. .. More>>

Weekend Interviews: "Discriminatory And Racist" Aussie Deportations

The former president of Australia’s Human Rights Commission Gillian Triggs says deportations have risen dramatically in Australia since 2014 when ministers and ministerial delegates were given the power to cancel visas - and half of those being deported are New Zealanders. "These are massive numbers, actually escalating dramatically."... More>>

ALSO:

Legal Challenge: Prisoner Has 9 Boxes Of Documents Seized

Human rights organisation People Against Prisons Aotearoa says a prisoner they advocate for has had 9 boxes of legal documents seized from him just days before his case against the Department of Corrections was to be heard. More>>

Single-Use Plastic Bags: Govt To Phase Them Out

Single-use plastic shopping bags will be phased out over the next year, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Associate Environment Minister Eugenie Sage announced today. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

Featured InfoPages