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National’s Shame As South Auckland Children Suffer

National’s Shame As South Auckland Children Suffer

Taito Phillip Field, Labour Spokesperson on Pacific Island Affairs

The children of South Auckland are suffering in Third World conditions as a result of the National Party’s neglect, Labour Pacific Island affairs spokesperson Taito Phillip Field said today.

“A co-ordinated South Auckland health strategy is urgently needed to tackle the underlying causes of poor health in the region.

“The Government can’t continue to treat South Auckland, with its huge problems, as it does more affluent and healthy areas. Nowhere else is the different approach of National and Labour so starkly demonstrated.

“National’s approach focuses on how many procedures a hospital carries out. It has failed to shift resources to tackle the causes of poor health - poverty, inadequate housing, a lack of education and employment opportunities, unhealthy environments and gaps in primary health care.

“The Government has long been warned about the growing rate of diseases of poverty in South Auckland, like Meningococcal disease and respiratory infections. It has twiddled its thumbs since receiving proposals from Middlemore Hospital to co-ordinate a primary health strategy. While it procrastinates, our families and our children suffer.

“In South Auckland, the Government’s housing policy is causing enormous social disruption. Several studies have shown the direct link between market rents and overcrowding, poverty and ill-health. Labour’s policy to set state house rentals at a maximum of 25 percent of the household income for low income families, will give much needed stability. Lower state rentals will also lead to private rentals falling to a more realistic level for middle and low income families.

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“Labour will re-establish the Public Health Goals that National abolished. Resources will go to primary healthcare providers who will be expected to meet these goals, such as improving immunisation rates and reducing rates of asthma and smoking. Labour is committed to integrated care and early intervention.

“Nowhere is the failure of National’s market-driven health and housing experiments more starkly demonstrated than in South Auckland.

“The health of South Auckland children has fallen to a “critical level of unacceptability”. So has the performance of the Government. Its members should be hanging their heads in shame.”

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