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


Inequality is Making Kids Sick

Sunday 5th May 2019

The rising rate of rheumatic fever among Māori and Pasifika children is one of the sharpest examples yet of the direct harm caused by New Zealand’s high level of inequality, Peter Malcolm, spokesperson for the income equality project Closing the Gap, said today.

University of Auckland researcher Dr. Julie Spray calls rheumatic fever ‘the canary in the coal mine for inequality’, and her recent work makes clear that unless the root cause — inequality — is addressed, we will be unable to reduce the incidence of this damaging illness.

“As Dr. Spray points out, the current approach to prevention which involves identifying and medicating kids with sore throats, won’t work if they’re simply sent back to the same inadequate housing,” Mr. Malcolm said.

Successive governments have been trying for years to reduce New Zealand’s stubborn rates of rheumatic fever, including the previous National government, and still the rates go up.

“Given the links between this illness and deprivation, overcrowding and poor housing, a medical approach can only do so much. What we need are bold policies, starting with providing good quality social housing, particularly for families with children,” Mr. Malcolm said.

While not usually fatal in itself, rheumatic fever can cause lasting heart damage that kills up to 200 New Zealanders a year.

“We as a society need to take responsibility for the social and economic inequalities that underlie this illness,” he said. “Until we do, more Māori and Pasifika children and their families will be forced to pay an unconscionably heavy price.”


‘The Canary in the Coal Mine for Inequality’: https://www.newsroom.co.nz/@ideasroom/2019/05/01/561381/failing-children-with-health-scare-tactics

MOH Rheumatic Fever Prevention Programme: https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/diseases-and-conditions/rheumatic-fever


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines



Gordon Campbell: On Why We Shouldn’t Genuflect To Calls For Secrecy

Reportedly most (and possibly all) of the Royal Commission investigation into the Christchurch mosque shootings will be closed to the general public and to the media.

Oh sure, come delivery date in December there will be some kind of “public-facing” document containing conclusions and rationales, but there will have been no interim way of scrutinizing the inquiry’s rigour, or how fairly its findings reflect the evidence. More>>


Budget Announcements: Family And Sexual Violence Response

The family and sexual violence package, which sits across eight portfolios, is the result of the first ever joint Budget bid from multiple government departments. More>>


Deals, Sanctions, Consultation: National's Foreign Policy Plan

“National will prioritise our relationship with the United States.. National will also further the strong and dynamic economic relationship with China." More>>


Taking Children Into State Care: Minister For Children On The Nation

Simon Shepherd: ... So, we’ve seen this jump in the number of newborn Maori babies being taken from their parents in the last three years. Is that because it’s a directive from Oranga Tamariki to get involved earlier? More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The Christchurch Call

The zigzagging nature of Christchurch Call To Action's content (“steps to eliminate terrorist and violent extremist content online” on one hand… and “a free, open and secure Internet” on the other) reflects the genuine tension on this subject. More>>


Getting Moving: Wellington Transport To Get $6.4b Overhaul

A new $6.4bn transport project aiming to free up traffic in Wellington CBD will combine a mass transit system with an improved bus network, the government says. More>>


Privacy Commission Report: MSD Systematically Misused Fraud Investigation Powers

An Office of the Privacy Commissioner (OPC) inquiry has found the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) systematically misused its investigatory powers while pursuing benefit fraud, unjustifiably intruding on the privacy of many beneficiaries. More>>


Consultation Doc: Safety Focus In Improved Drug Driver Testing

Improving the safety of all road users is the focus of a new public consultation document on the issue of drug driver testing. More>>





InfoPages News Channels