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New Partnership For Greater Health Equity

Three organisations, The Helen Clark Foundation, Health Coalition Aotearoa, and the MAS Foundation, are delighted to announce a partnership that will see them share expertise and resources to deliver an evidence-based perspective on one of the most important public health issues facing New Zealand – improving health equity.

The three partners are particularly committed to catalysing action to protect children and families from the harms caused by alcohol and unhealthy food which create unfair and unacceptable health burdens in many Māori, Pacific and low-income communities.

Launched in March 2019, The Helen Clark Foundation is an independent public policy think tank that publishes research and recommendations on policy issues that are important to Aotearoa New Zealand.

The Foundation’s work has ignited public debate on issues such as loneliness, drug law reform, and the minimum wage. Its Patron, the Right Honourable Helen Clark, believes in the importance of independent and expert advice for decision-making.

“Non-partisan research and contributions to public policy have a growing role to play. We are living in an era of heightened partisanship and of vested interests which actively obstruct efforts to pursue evidence-based policy. The Foundation facilitates policy challenges in a rational and reasoned way, drawing on international experience of what works”, Helen Clark said.

Dr David Galler, Health Coalition Aotearoa (HCA) Board spokesperson, says partnering with both Foundations is an important way in which HCA can continue to deliver positive outcomes for New Zealand.

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“We are an alliance of over 60 health organisations working to improve the health equity of New Zealanders. The policies we support are based on evidence and international experience, and they are pro-equity - meaning that they work most for those who need it. If they are implemented here, they will create the healthy environments which communities need to thrive. For low-income neighbourhoods, the high prevalence of junk food shops, cheap liquor outlets, and pokie machines must become a thing of the past ” David Galler said.

The MAS Foundation is a new foundation created by the Medical Assurance Society. Chairperson, Jenny Gill, said that she was delighted that this is the first major partnership into which the MAS Foundation has entered. “A large number of doctors and health professionals insure with MAS, and most of them have spent their professional lives treating the consequences of unhealthy environments like obesity, diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.” Jenny Gill said. “I am sure they will be very pleased to be part of a major initiative to strengthen prevention efforts in this country.”

Under the partnership, HCA, with funding from the MAS Foundation, will sponsor a full time researcher with the Helen Clark Foundation to produce evidence-based insights to stimulate public debate and policy action. HCA will also leverage its local and global experts across its extensive network. Recruitment for the position opens in the New Year.

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