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
Remove Official Language barriers towards political participation in NZ by 2020
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0YoNWym2Lus NZ's official languages are not being utilised enough during Elections and within political party and campaign groups. Not for profit organisations and volunteer groups are having to beg for volunteers or use their own limited funding to cover the cost of NZSL/Te Reo Interpreters at Meet the Candidates events around the country. This is unreasonable to expect NZSL Interpreters to give up their time to volunteer when they need to pay rent, rates, mortgages etc too. This puts Deaf and Hard of Hearing voters/candidates in a position of having limited means of communication to ask questions or give presentations at these events. TVNZ refusing to make available NZSL Interpreters on our state broadcasters Television Election Debates is a prime example of electoral prejudice against voters who depend on an official language to fully participate in a democratic progress. Deaf/Hard of Hearing members need NZSL interpreter and communication support funding that allows them to fully participate within their chosen political party/campaign group throughout the year. We request the Speaker of the House to set aside funding to allow full political party/group participation in an accessible democracy society. Lets make Elections barrier-free for our official languages by 2020.
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.