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A 1st Step To Eradicate Health Problems Of Poverty

Thursday 27 May 2004
Press release

Budget a first step to eradicate health problems of poverty

Budget welcomed but PHA calls for sustained action on child poverty

Increased support for families is a significant first step towards stemming the rise of third-world type diseases of poverty, according to the Public Health Association.

The PHA says the Working for Families package will allow many families to fund the basics that are needed for health, including housing, quality food, warm clothing and access to healthcare. The PHA has also welcomed the announcement about 1054 new state homes and upgrades to 856 state homes.

Director Dr Gay Keating says there is increasing concern among public health workers about the rise of third world type diseases in this country. She says most of these conditions are preventable and clearly linked to people living in poverty.

"Reports such as a recent Ministry of Health document showing 22 percent of New Zealand children live in households that can't afford to eat properly appears to have been a wake-up call to the government."

However Dr Keating points out it is unclear how the budget will help benefit dependent families and says agencies that work with families will be looking closely at the detail of the budget.

Dr Keating says the budget is a good start but a concerted government effort is needed across all sectors to end child poverty. She points out the British government made a commitment to end child poverty and has reduced child poverty by about a quarter in five years.

The PHA is also calling for all new government policies to be assessed for their effect on the health of the most vulnerable, such as children. It says this is in line with the Public Health Advisory Committee's new Guide to Health Impact Assessment.

ENDS

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