Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


Keeping young people healthy

Keeping young people healthy

Youth Affairs Minister John Tamihere and Health Minister Annette King believe New Zealanders need to place more value on young people to help improve their overall health status.

Mr Tamihere is in Manukau today to launch a new plan aimed at improving the health of young people aged 12 to 24.

“Our young people are a tremendous asset - not just for our future - but right now. Statistics show, however, that we are not taking enough care of them,” Mr Tamihere said.

“We have to do better for all our rangatahi, especially for young Maori, who continue to suffer a greater degree of ill health, and have a higher death rate than non-Maori youth.”

Ms King said the new youth health action plan includes practical ways to improve the health and well-being of all young New Zealanders.

“This plan proposes a shift in the way the health sector has traditionally seen young people: from being `at risk' and a `problem to be solved', to being valued participants in the community's effort to create a healthier environment,” she said.

“It also creates exciting opportunities for young people to actively participate in health policy and service development so they can be involved in decisions that affect them.”

The action plan, drawn up with an expert group of people working in youth health, emphasises the need for the health sector to reach out more actively and be more responsive to young people.

It looks at the various environments in which young people live and interact -- whanau (family), education, community, primary health care, hospital and specialist health services and District Health Boards (DHBs) -- and includes almost 40 recommended action points.

Mr Tamihere said that by international standards, young New Zealanders have unacceptably high rates of suicide, teen pregnancies, drug and alcohol abuse and accidental deaths.

“Devising effective ways of keeping young people mentally healthy is a priority, and while the recent decline in youth suicide rates is encouraging, we still have a long way to go. Some of the practical suggestions in this youth health action plan will get us a step closer.”

He said innovative, community-initiated school based health centres for young people are already running in some areas, such as Rotorua.

“These wellness centres in the city's Western Heights High School, Rotorua Lakes High School, Rotorua Girls' High School, Rotorua Boys' High School and the rural Reporoa College are effective examples of community-driven collaboration between health and education agencies,” he said.

“They are doing the sorts of things that are advocated in the youth health action plan and I am excited by the very real possibilities offered by this sort of collaboration. International evidence shows school-based health services are an effective way to provide health care to youngsters and help set early intervention habits.”

Mr Tamihere noted that some recommended action points are outside the health sector.

“All New Zealanders share the responsibility of making sure young people feel valued, safe and healthy,” he said.

“Ensuring that all schools have anti-bullying programmes in place, raising kids' awareness of issues facing new migrants and gay and lesbian students, and encouraging local bodies to create youth-friendly spaces and recreational opportunities are also areas promoted in the plan.”

In the next few months the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Youth Affairs will begin taking the key action plan messages around the country. The Ministry of Health also intends to work with the Ministry of Education on finding ways to extend school-based health services.

For more information see the Youth Health: A Guide to Action and Youth Health Status Report at

The Ministry of Youth Affair's Youth Development Strategy Aotearoa is available at:

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Geo-political Posturing Over China’s Cyber Hacks, Plus The Weekly Playlist

The timing was one of the weirder aspects of this week’s cyber condemnation of China by the West. Why was this piece of political theatre being staged now? China (and Russia’s) sponsoring and/or condoning of semi-state and criminal hacker groups has been known about for nigh on a decade. More particularly, Microsoft had been alerted to the flaws in its Microsoft Exchange... More>>


Government: Quarantine Free Travel With Australia Suspended

Quarantine Free Travel from all Australian states and territories to New Zealand is being suspended as the Covid situation there worsens, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins announced today... More>>


Government: New Zealand Condemns Malicious Cyber Activity By Chinese State-sponsored Actors

New Zealand has established links between Chinese state-sponsored actors known as Advanced Persistent Threat 40 (APT40) and malicious cyber activity in New Zealand. “The GCSB has worked through a robust technical attribution process in relation to this activity. New Zealand is today joining other countries in strongly condemning this malicious activity... More>>


Government: Commits $600,000 To Flood Recovery

The Government is contributing $600,000 to help residents affected by the weekend’s violent weather with recovery efforts. Acting Minister for Emergency Management Kris Faafoi and Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor have been in the Buller district this afternoon to assess flood damage and support the local response effort... More>>


NZUS Council: Welcomes Nomination Of Senator Tom Udall As US Ambassador To NZ

The NZUS Council welcomes the nomination of Senator Tom Udall to the role of US Ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa, NZUS Council executive director Jordan Small said... More>>

BusinessNZ: Visa Extensions Welcomed
BusinessNZ has welcomed the extension of some critical skill visa durations and changes to immigration systems to speed processing. Chief Executive Kirk Hope says move acknowledges advocacy by the hospitality sector, the BusinessNZ Network and others, and comes not a moment too soon.... More>>

Social Development: Government Initiatives Contribute To Fall In Benefit Numbers

Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni has welcomed the release of the June quarter Benefit Statistics which show a continuing fall in the number of people receiving a Main Benefit... More>>




InfoPages News Channels