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Preventing Injury Under the Spotlight

Preventing Injury Under the Spotlight

Injury prevention experts are gathering in Wellington today to discuss ways of reducing injury. The conference – Living and Playing Safely in Aotearoa New Zealand – will be attended by over 150 people with expertise in injury prevention.

Sandra James, spokesperson for conference organisers the Injury Prevention Network of Aotearoa New Zealand, said that injury deaths had a number of causes including road crashes, falls, drowning and suicide.

“In 2002, 1700 New Zealanders died from injury – that’s an average of five people a day. All these deaths are preventable; the conference will focus on what works now in preventing injury, as well as on new ideas and innovative programmes.

Conference speakers include:

- Dr Rose Pere CBE, Doctor of Literature, University of Victoria, author and internationally recognised educationalist; discussing what is happening in injury prevention in New Zealand

- Marilyn Wise, Executive Director, Australian Centre for Health Promotion; discussing what is happening in injury prevention internationally

- John Wiggers, Director of Hunter Population Health, and Senior Lecturer in the School of Medical Practice and Population Health, University of Newcastle, Australia; talking on injury and alcohol-related harm in the community

- Marilyn Brewin, Doctor of Philosophy in Community Health; looking at a Maori model for injury prevention and safety promotion.

Sandra James said that injury prevention was about helping people to continue to live active and challenging lives, while minimising the risk of injury.

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“New Zealanders have a positive ‘give it a go’ culture. By taking common sense precautions – such as having properly fitted child vehicle constraints, a safe workplace, and increasing the strength and balance of older people – we can live and play safely.”



The media is welcome to attend the Injury Prevention Network Conference Living and Playing Safely in Aotearoa New Zealand. The conference runs from 2 to 4 November, at the James Cook Hotel Grand Chancellor, 147 The Terrace, Wellington.

Conference programme

8.00 – 9.30 Conference & AGM Registration
9.30 Powhiri
10.30 Morning tea
11.00 Opening address
11.05 Plenary Session: Ministry of Health, SafeKids Campaign, NZIPS, Department of Labour
12.30 – 1.30 Lunch
1.40 Conference Overview
1.50 – 2.30 Keynote: Marilyn Wise
2.45 Afternoon Tea
3.15 – 4.45 Workshops & Sessions (Choose either the Workshop or one of the 4 Sessions)

8.30 Introduction to the Day
8.40 Annual General Meeting
10.30 – 10.45 Morning Tea
11.00 Profile ALAC Culture Change Programme. Keynote John Wiggers
11.50 Keynote: Marilyn Brewin
12.30 – 2.00 Lunch
Maori & Pacific Caucus Meetings
2.00 – 3.30 Workshops & Sessions (Choose either the Workshop or one of the 3 Sessions)
3.30 Afternoon Tea
3.45 – 5.15 Workshops & Sessions (Choose either the Workshop or one of the 3 Sessions)

9.00 Welcome to Day Three – Recap
9.05 - 10.30 Keynote : Dr Rose Pere : Tuhoe
10.30 Morning Tea
11.00 – 12.30 Sessions Choose one of the Five Concurrent Sessions (3 presentations per session - 30mins each)
12.30 Lunch
1.30 – 2.30 Debate
2.30 – 2.45 Wrap Up
2.45 Poroporoaki
3.00 Close


Injuries affect the lives of thousands of New Zealanders each day. Injuries range from minor injury events to permanent disability and fatalities. Injury often has major consequences for the victims their families, friends, colleagues and employers.

The burden of injury, unnecessarily loaded on the New Zealand population significantly affects everyone economically, socially, mentally and in lost potential. The economic and social cost of injury has been estimated to be $6-7 billion per year.

Injury is a leading cause of premature death and disability in New Zealand, currently resulting in approximately 1600 deaths and 42,000 hospitalisations each year.

Injury priorities in New Zealand are:

- Motor vehicle crashes

- Suicide and deliberate self harm

- Falls

- Workplace injuries including occupational diseases

- Assault

- Drowning and near drowning

Injury Deaths:

- The three leading causes of injury death are suicide, motor vehicle crashes, and falls

- During 1995-1999 the injury death rate for males was over twice that for females

- Injury is the leading cause of death for Maori in the first three decades of life

- Unintentional injuries and motor vehicle crashes are the leading causes for death and admissions to hospital for Pacific peoples.

Drink-driving continues to be a major factor in deaths and injuries on New Zealand roads, causing more than 2,000 deaths and injuries every year. In 2003 142 people were killed and another 1,972 were injured in drink-driving crashes on our roads. In 2004, 404 people died from motor vehicle crashes.

Falls cause death and disability:

- Between 1993 and 2002, more than 381,000 people were hospitalised for an unintentional injury; of these 162,900 (more than 43 percent) were fall related.

- Between 1992 and 2001, there were 2,279 unintentional fall-related deaths, accounting for 21 percent of all unintentional injury deaths in New Zealand.

- Adults aged 75 or over had the highest fall-related injury death rate

- Females accounted for 53 percent of fall-related injury deaths in those below 75 years, and 65 percent in those aged 75 or over.

- Thirty-one percent of fatal falls (male and female) happened in the home.

- Overall, New Zealand European/Other accounted for the majority (91 percent) of fall-related injury deaths, Māori accounted for 6 percent, Pacific people for 2 percent, and Asian people for 2 percent.

Drowning and near drowning:

- On average 130 people have drowned in New Zealand every year,

- New Zealand’s death rate from unintentional drowning is about double the rates of Australia and the United States

Between 1990 and 1999:

- the leading causes of those drowned were swimming (19 percent of deaths); fishing (12 percent); and boating (10 percent)

- the highest death rates occurred in people aged 15 to 24 years, followed by children 0 to 4 years

- 80 percent of those drowned and 72 percent of hospitalisations involved males

Suicide and self harm:

- Suicide and suicidal behaviour is a major social and health issue in New Zealand. Every suicide death results in a profound and lasting impact on friends, family, whānau, and often whole communities.

- 460 people died by suicide in 2002

- In 2002, New Zealand’s all-age suicide rates for males and females were the sixth highest among OECD countries with comparable data.

- The hospitalisation rate for intentional self-harm for the total population was 128.2 cases per 100,000 population in 2001/02

- Females are twice as likely to be admitted to hospital for self-harm events than males


- between 2000-2003, 6% of serious hospitalisations in New Zealand are a result of assault

- repeat victimisation by partners and those known well to the victim is common. For example, 10% of those assaulted by their current partner in 2000 had been assaulted more than five times, and the number of such assaults accounted for 42% of all partner assaults in that year.

Work-related injury:

- In 2004, 245,200 claims were accepted for work-related injury

- Males are twice as likely as females to have a work-related injury

- ACC advise claims for work-related injuries occurring in 2004 had incurred costs of $177.7 million by the end of March 2005.

Our children:
Injury is the leading cause of death for children ages one to 14 in New Zealand. In 1998, 93 children died in New Zealand from preventable injuries.

- The leading cause of injury death was motor vehicle crashes, followed by drowning, suffocation and burns.

- The annual cost of child injury deaths in New Zealand is an estimated $79 million

The above information is from the national strategies for Road Safety, Suicide Prevention, Workplace Health and Safety, Injury Prevention, Te Rito and Action Plan to Reduce Community Violence & Sexual Violence, and Drowning Prevention. Further information is available on the following websites www.nzips.govt.nz, www.Safekids.org.nz.

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