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Collins Comments - 4 December 2006

Judith Collins Clevedon MP 4 December 2006

National MPs support Diabetes Awareness and walk the talk.

I recently took part in a 6 km walk along Takapuna Beach, along with my colleagues Dr Wayne Mapp MP and Dr Jackie Blue MP, to promote community awareness of the huge human and financial costs of diabetes. The statistics in New Zealand are frightening. Over 125,000 Kiwis currently have diabetes but that doesn't take into account the people who have no symptoms and have not yet been tested. Each year 7,500 people are newly diagnosed each year and 4,500 die from diabetes.

Astonishingly, the total number of deaths from diabetes are more than the deaths from breast, cervical, prostate, bowel and lung cancer combined. While a small proportion of diabetics have a genetic predisposition in developing diabetes, a significant proportion is associated with being overweight. Over the last decade there is has been a dramatic increase in both childhood and adult obesity. Apart from the obvious complication of death from diabetes, there are serious health issues that affect diabetics that result in chronic illness, incapacity, time off work with economic loss of productivity,

Complications from diabetes include cardiovascular disease, eyes disease and blindness, kidney disease and poor circulation of the lower limbs which can result in chronic ulcers and amputation. The flow on effects to families and carers can last for decades. It has been estimated that in the next 5 years or so the direct costs of diabetes will total $600 million which will largely result from the high medical costs from severe diabetic complications. Indirect costs such as losses in economic productivity from people being unable to work will only add to this figure. Preventing diabetes in the first place will be key strategy and linked with this is tackling the obesity epidemic. Early detection will mean screening groups at risk. We must get the message out there now otherwise we will all be literally paying the price.

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Unfortunately, the Labour Government doesn't take graffiti seriously. The report of the Local Government and Environment Committee recommends that the Manukau City Council (Control of Graffiti) Bill not proceed. The Bill was developed by the council in response to the growing graffiti problem in Manukau City. While the committee was sympathetic to the intent of the bill, they felt that legislating for a local solution to a national problem would create a host of legal and enforcement issues. The Government told the committee that it has a plan to address graffiti issues but it will not be fully rolled out until 30 June 2010. Well I say to the Government come to my electorate and see the cost and distress these vandals cause local businesses and local residents. National members backed the Manukau City Council in this Bill and is calling on Labour to speed up the implementation of its graffiti plan so it is fully operational by the end of 2007.

The Counties Manukau Police have become involved in providing a Tapu Lifting Ceremony. I am not against ceremonial spraying of Waikato River water on State Highways One and Two in a bid to free the spirits of fatal accident victims, but what I do have concerns about is the involvement of the Police in this. Police need to focus on fighting crime in Counties Manukau and leave tapu lifting to others. When questioned, the Police have responded that "only time" was involved. I have a petition before Parliament at present calling for more police in Counties Manukau. In the Eastern Police District (Pakuranga, Howick, Clevedon, Botany, Otara) there is one police officer for every 1454 residents compared to the national average of one officer for every 556 residents.

I am pleased that the recent National Party Leadership changes were able to be made in a disciplined way so that we have a very unified caucus. Don Brash has done a great job bringing National back from the 2002 election. I support Don's decision to retire. He has many options and I will always be grateful for his contribution to New Zealand and his support.


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