Two Green MPs visited Invercargill over the past week and both described a genuine crisis that is being largely ignored by this Government.
Kevin Hague has been traveling around the country exposing the inadequacies of National's approach to Health and promoting what the Greens would do differently if we got into Government. Using his knowledge of the health system as a past CEO of West Coast Health and available data, Kevin exposed the sham of current health management:
- Health funding has not kept up with our growing population and the demands on the system and we have actually experienced a loss of capacity. We are not even treading water, we are going backwards.
- Money has been shifted away from preventative (public) health and primary care, the two areas that give the best value for any spending.
- The only area receiving greater funding is elective surgery and this has been widely promoted by the Government as proof of success when it actually makes up only 5% of all health spending.
- Maori and Pasifika people and those with disabilities and low incomes still struggle to access care and have deteriorating outcomes.
- The main contributors to poor health are actually poor housing and poverty and these are barely being addressed. We now have 27% of our children experiencing poverty and the health effects related to that.
Kevin also identified a ticking time bomb within our society that is shortly going to place huge pressures on our health system. We have one of the fastest growing rates of obesity in the OECD and Type 2 Diabetes is closely connected to this. Recent research has shown that we are about to experience a tidal wave of diabetes and we have put little in place to manage it.
Jan Logie has been working tirelessly in support of the huge numbers of New Zealanders who have experienced, or are experiencing, sexual abuse or domestic violence. While the Government has proudly promoted the apparent fact that reported crime is dropping in NZ we only have to study the statistics a little more closely to realize that sexual and domestic violence are actually increasing. Jan explained that if the figures involved in these areas were related to illness or disease, it would be described as an epidemic.
- 1 in 4 girls experience an unwanted sexual act before they are 15
- 1 in 7 boys experience sexual abuse at some point in their childhood
- 90% of sexual violence crimes go unreported
- The justice system fails those who have suffered sexual assaults and often the process of obtaining a conviction causes more trauma to the victim and few convictions result.
- NZ police average 9-10 domestic violence callouts for every hour of the day and for 2011-12 86,722 cases of domestic violence were investigated.
- We have the 2nd worst child health safety statistics in the OECD and one of the highest rates of teenage suicide.
It was extremely upsetting to hear about how sick and dangerous our society is for many New Zealanders and how unsupportive we currently are for those who really need it. The social and economic costs to our country are actually huge if we don't put in place credible policy. I would love to see Kevin and Jan in the next Government so they have the opportunity to drive the changes necessary to turn things around.