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Great progress in preventive health under National

Hon Tony Ryall
National Party
Spokesman for health

11 November 2011

Great progress in preventive health under National

National is focusing on fewer, more high impact, preventive health measures to keep more New Zealanders healthy says National spokesman for health, Tony Ryall.

"This is in contrast to the 180 policy pledges and 'might do's' on anything and everything in Labour's "policy" paper.

"Despite Labour's massive health bureaucracy, and scores of health vision plans and work programmes – what did Labour do for the kids with rheumatic fever for nine years?

"Labour listed it as a health priority but did nothing else.

"Children with rheumatic fever face serious consequences - ten years of penicillin injections and significant heart disease.

"Rheumatic fever in our population was at third world levels all during Labour's term. Yet it has taken a National government to find the $12 million for a large rheumatic fever prevention programme in the worst affected areas.

"What effort did Labour put into immunising our children against disease?

"Over nine years they could only manage to immunise 70 per cent of all eligible two year olds. National has focused on lifting immunisation. 91 per cent of two year old children are now immunised with the greatest increases amongst Maori and Pacific children - and we're on track to reach 95 per cent.

"We've dramatically increased the number of health checks for children before they start school. Labour managed 3,000 in three years. Now well over 100,000 children have been checked. And there are more WellChild visits for babies.

"National's home insulation programme Warm Up New Zealand: Heat Smart has insulated over 130,000 kiwi homes. This is a massive preventive health initiative that Labour neglected.

"On unhealthy weight, we are spending around $65 million on nutrition and physical activity programmes, including over $20 million on the Kiwisport initiative. We're bringing greater balance to the campaign for healthy weight.

"But, once again, Labour wants to spread public health dollars too thinly, on too many projects, with very little health gain to show for it.

"Labour does a lot of talking about preventive health but has a very poor record."

ENDS

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