Introduce universal free dental care
Many people can’t afford dental check ups, or are put off going to the dentist because of the costs associated with treatment. Dentists are finding tooth conditions associated with countries with much higher levels of poverty than New Zealand, because dental care is expensive for so many of us. The last national dental survey found that about half of New Zealand's population had put off dental treatment they knew they needed because of the cost.[2,3] Dental care is understandably a highly regulated industry and the costs of running a dental clinic are therefore very high. There are also not enough dentists in some regions. It can cost a lot just to get a checkup, putting people off from getting regular review of the health of their teeth. Basic dental services are provided up until 18 - ending at a crucial time when young people are leaving home and are financially constrained. Dental care can take second place to more urgent living costs when under financial stress, putting off care until more serious problems occur. If dental problems are taken care of early it can save a lot more money later on. Left untreated, dental infections can spread leading to serious and sometimes life threatening illnesses that require hospitalisation. Poor oral health has also been linked to conditions like heart disease and diabetes which financially burden the health care system. Further, poor oral health is associated with poorer self-reported quality of life and negatively impacts on employment prospects. A Ministry of Health survey shows that dental problems have an indirect cost to society, with one in ten adults aged 18–64 years taking an average of 2.1 days off work or school in the previous year due to problems with their teeth or mouth. An affordable and accessible dental care service would catch health problems before they become too serious, reduce barriers to good health for our whole population and reducing later health costs. In the meantime there are specific steps that can be taken to improve access to dental care now. To begin with we can take concrete steps to remove cost barriers to good dental care - 1. Subsidise dental care for at-need communities; 2. Age for access to free dental care increased to 20; 3. Remove GST from dental services. Sign now to ask the new Minister of Health David Clark to take these concrete steps for better access to dental care for everyone. Media 1 - Making dental care affordable to those who need it most should be a priority – dentist, 20/11/17 https://www.facebook.com/Breakfaston1/videos/10155785527952719/ 2 - Former Prime Minister Helen Clark https://twitter.com/HelenClarkNZ/status/931265560838529024 3 - "Dental decay remains the most prevalent chronic (and irreversible) disease in New Zealand" http://www.health.govt.nz/publication/our-oral-health-key-findings-2009-new-zealand-oral-health-survey 4 - Smile NZ to provide free dental care for low income Kiwis https://www.southerncross.co.nz/group/media-releases/2016/Smile-NZ-to-provide-free-dental-care-for-low-income-Kiwis 5 - Helen Clark calls for Govt to implement free dental care, 17/1117 http://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/news/politics/helen-clark-calls-for-govt-to-implement-free-dental-care/ 6 - Dental expert says dental care in NZ treated like 'luxury', calls for funding overhaul 20/11/17 https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/dental-expert-says-care-in-nz-treated-like-luxury-calls-funding-overhaul
Honour Te Tiriti: #ChangeTheOath
The oath of allegiance, taken by all new citizens, is an important statement on what it means to be a citizen of Aotearoa. Te Tiriti o Waitangi is the nation's founding document, yet the current oath only acknowledges one Treaty partner, the Crown (for more information see http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1977/0061/latest/whole.html#DLM444038). There is a need for the oath to acknowledge both Māori and the Crown, and to reflect that honouring Te Tiriti o Waitangi is the responsibility of all citizens of Aotearoa. Changing the oath to include a statement on honouring Te Tiriti o Waitangi would: - Recognise Te Tiriti o Waitangi as the founding document of the Nation - Honour both Treaty partners in citizenship ceremonies - Make it clear that honouring Te Tiriti o Waitangi is the responsibility of all citizens of Aotearoa - Encourage new citizens to learn about Te Tiriti o Waitangi and their relationships with tangata whenua - Be one step towards achieving an approach to immigration that recognises Māori rights, responsibilities, and aspirations 'Change the Oath' is a group of Māori and migrants of colour standing in solidarity. The group includes (in alphabetical order) Faisal Al-Asaad, Tahu Kukutai, Ricardo Menéndez March, Pania Newton, Aaryn Marsh Niuapu, Arama Rata, and Julie Zhu.
Eat Right Be Bright - School Lunch for All Kiwi Kids
Sign our petition: We are a group of 100+ ordinary Mums from a variety of backgrounds. We believe passionately that all children are our children. That all children in New Zealand, wherever they are, whatever their circumstances, have the right to access their education on an equal footing and to nutritious food to nourish their mind, lives and spirit. We believe a centrally funded, secured, healthy school lunch programme for all is a powerful mechanism for New Zealand to fulfill these obligations to our children, to lift them up and break the poverty cycle. We are deeply concerned that: • 1 in 4 of our kids are living in poverty. • 1 in 3 of our kids are overweight or obese. • 1 in 3 of all kids admitted to Starship Hospital are malnourished to some degree. We know that minimum wage earning and beneficiary families need to spend up to 52% of their income to purchase a basic healthy diet (Otago University Food Costs Survey 2011); some reports put that now at 60%. We know that higher rates of diabetes, obesity, infectious diseases, fatigue, poor mental health, greater psychological stress and poor academic development in children are found where healthy food is less accessible. We know cheap, accessible food is energy rich but nutrient poor meaning children are malnourished whilst also obese. This does currently, and will increasingly, put a chronic strain on the public health system. We know that charities currently reach some children in need with their food programmes (of varying nutritional value) in deciles 1-4 schools. However, they are stretched and they cannot and should not be expected to shoulder the burden in perpetuity when all New Zealanders will benefit from healthy, well educated children. Teachers also tell us that children are going to school without lunch in all deciles or simply not attending school at all due to the shame of not having a lunch to bring. Kids such as Blake (not his real name). He moved to a new school when his family sought refuge in a Womens' Refuge Centre away from his old area. He knew that a charity delivered hot food to his old school two days a week in the winter. The following week after his move, Blake walked 7km to his old school because he knew there would be hot food there on that day. A teacher asked him why he had walked so far back to his old school. Blake answered that it was because he hadn't eaten a meal since he had changed schools and he was hungry. Or, like Ellie (not her real name), who goes to a school in an affluent neighbourhood. She often attends school without a lunch. The teachers started to sneak a lunch, from their own pockets, into her schoolbag as discreetly as they could. Ellie now hands back the teachers' lunch because she would rather be hungry than accept charity from others. We say, this stops now. Only a school lunch for all kids will capture every child in need, free from shame and stigma. All our children will benefit from the health and education uplift provided by a school lunch programme. For the children most in need, that uplift is greatest. Better educated and healthier children benefits all New Zealanders with less children needing doctors and more children being doctors. We know that New Zealand is one of the few countries in the world with no national, government funded school meals programme. In most countries around the world it is uncontroversial, part and parcel of going to school. We believe that all kiwi kids deserve the same social protection and investment in their lives as their global peers. We have decided it’s time to stand up and stand together for our children. It is clear to us that only with a centrally funded programme in all schools and early childhood education centres throughout our country will we reach all children in need, wherever they are, whatever their circumstance, free from shame and stigma. The provision of a school lunch as of right, with dignity, in this way tells a child that we, as a society, value them. The provision of daily healthy and nutritious food in a school lunch sets all children up for a healthier and better educated life. This benefits all of us. Eat Right Be Bright Join us in making change for a brighter future our children. Sign the petition. Find out more ways to help and follow us on: Facebook - @likeamumNZ or Eat Right Be Bright NZ Website - www.eatrightbebright.org.nz Instagram - @eatrightbebright_nz or eatrightbebrightn_z Twitter - @eatrightNZ