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


Living With Diabetes: Pita Sharples Speaks Out

Living With Diabetes: Maori Party MP for Tamaki Makaurau Speaks Out

Dr Pita Sharples, Co-leader of the Maori Party

Friday 17 November 2006

Dr Pita Sharples today spoke about the importance of healthy living to manage the challenge of living with diabetes.

“Our whanau is a Diabetes-Aware Whanau” said Dr Sharples. “In fact, our mokopuna can be our most enthusiastic supporters in understanding and managing diabetes within the family”.

“Diabetes affects far too many of our whanau to be complacent” said Dr Sharples.

In 2005, an estimated 125,000 New Zealanders were diagnosed with diabetes, 22% of them Maori. The estimated prevalence of diabetes in Maori is about 20% - about four times higher than for Pakeha. Maori also tend to develop diabetes far earlier than non-Maori, onset of the disease commonly occurring at age 45; ten years earlier than non-Maori.

“This is a crisis by anyone’s estimates” said Dr Sharples. “If we saw the sort of ratios we’re seeing for Maori with diabetes in any other group of New Zealanders, my belief is that all stops would be pulled, to do something about it”.

“It’s absolutely gross that the chequebook seems over-flowing for a stadium, while a group of New Zealanders is suffering at pandemic scale from diabetes”.

“Our whanau has had direct involvement with the complications of diabetes – within our wider whanau we have known the pain of strokes, blindness, kidney dialysis, limb amputations, feet problems, infections that won’t go away, and all the other impacts of this disease. It’s a life-long challenge – and we all try to play our part in preventing the onset of further problems” said Dr Sharples.

“When whanau are working so hard to ‘be healthy’ it’s devastating to read headlines saying ‘Maori are facing extinction from diabetes’ or to learn that the Government spends less on health, and we have fewer doctors and hospital beds than many comparable nations” said Dr Sharples.

“Against all odds, the Maori Party was delighted to read the comments from Murray Dear, President of Diabetes New Zealand, who has just returned from the “Diabetes in Indigenous People’s Forum” in Melbourne this week.

“It is a real boost to hear the President say “In the end it is the indigenous communities themselves that will capture their own future”” said Dr Sharples.

“I hope the Government was listening. The Diabetes President highlighted the scarcity of investment that is being allocated to our communities, concluding ““There must also be a strong and adequately funded public health response from Government that lightens the load for these communities as they battle this growing epidemic”.

“I was really rapt to hear such insights from Murray Dear, and the Maori Party will be doing all that we can, to ensure that his expert advice is taken up, to ensure diabetes is well-managed within indigenous communities, for the long-term vision of a healthy nation” ended Dr Sharples.

“The great thing is – all of us have the capacity to live a healthy life – to go to the pool, walk around the block, make a healthy kai instead of McDs or fish' chips” said Dr Sharples.

“I’m hoping that the crowds will be out in force in Auckland on Sunday to go to the Diabetes Auckland “Walking with the Stars’ Event at Takapuna Beach” said Dr Sharples.

“It’s events like that – encouraging us all to push-play and exercise – that can make the difference with diabetes”.

“Early intervention is the key to stopping this epidemic in its tracks” said Dr Sharples.

Background Information

The Commonwealth Fund survey released today, of nine developed nations, shows New Zealand is near the bottom of the league table for several key indicators of health.

The report showed total public funding of health in New Zealand was the lowest of all those compared at $1600 per person, and below the OECD median of $1900.

New Zealand also scored very poorly in the rates for diabetes - totalling 72 years of lost life per 100,000 people – nearly double Australia's rate of 39 which matched the OECD median.

For more information about Walking with the Stars, contact Diabetes Auckland, ph (09) 623-2508


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On Budget 2022

At base, the political biffo back and forth on the merits of Budget 2022 comes down to only one thing. Who is the better manager of the economy and better steward of social wellbeing – National or Labour? In its own quiet way, the Treasury has buried a fascinating answer to the “who’s best at running an economy during a crisis?” question, at page 57 of the Fiscal Strategy section...


Budget 2022: A Secure Future In Difficult Times
Budget 2022 will help build a high wage, low emissions economy that provides greater economic security, while providing support to households affected by cost of living pressures... More>>


Budget: Climate Investments Provide Path To Economic Security
The Government is investing in New Zealand’s economic security by ensuring climate change funding moves away from short-term piecemeal responses and towards smart, long-term investment... More>>


Budget: Updated My Vaccine Pass For Those Who Want It

New Zealanders who are up-to-date with their COVID-19 vaccinations will be able to download an updated My Vaccine Pass from 24 May, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today... More>>

Classification Office: Following Decision To Ban Manifesto The Buffalo Mass Shooting Livestream Is Now Banned
The livestream video of yesterday’s mass shooting in the United States has now been banned, Acting Chief Censor Rupert Ablett-Hampson announced this morning. The decision follows on from his decision yesterday to call in and ban the ‘manifesto... More>>

Borders: New Zealand Poised To Welcome International Students Back
New Zealand is fully reopening to international students and the Government is committed to help reinvigorate and strengthen the sector, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today... More>>

Inland Revenue: Commissioner Appointed
Deputy Public Service Commissioner Helene Quilter QSO has today announced the appointment of Peter Mersi to the position of Commissioner and Chief Executive, Inland Revenue Department... More>>




InfoPages News Channels