• Restore the postgraduate student allowance now
    In 2013, the previous Government scrapped postgraduate allowances. Last year, Labour pledged to bring them back, and NZ First and the Greens have also shown their support. Now, we're looking for a start date! Restoring the postgraduate allowance isn't just good for students, it's good for the country. Across Aotearoa, postgraduate students are studying in fields that are crucial to our country's future success - clinical psychology, teaching and learning, and environmental studies to name a few. The current Government is committed to important national issues such as addressing the mental health crisis, uplifting the teaching profession and tackling climate change. In order for this work to succeed, we urgently need to be empowering and supporting our people to gain skills in these areas. A postgraduate student allowance is an easy first step towards making this a reality. Supporting postgraduate success is supporting our country's success. We're calling on the Government to restore the postgraduate student allowance now! No post-grad allowances for first semester, no set start date http://www.newshub.co.nz/home/politics/2017/11/no-post-grad-allowances-for-first-semester-and-no-set-start-date.html
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  • 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
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  • Auckland needs a Night Shelter
    Currently homelessness is increasing faster than the growth of housing supply (Auckland Council Environment and Community Committee, August 2017). This means that with the best intentions of getting people into housing, they will be spending time in inadequate shelter before this happens. A night shelter is needed, alongside initiatives such as the Housing First programme. A night shelter acts as a place of transition for people without a home, where they can have a degree of comfort and security. It is a base from where they can contact their support networks and be put in touch with the various agencies that can provide the assistance they need. As stated by the City Missioner in July 2017, the average life expectancy of a homeless person is 55. Hundreds of people are sleeping on Auckland streets, where it is not safe, and in the winter, it is cold and wet. Michelle Kidd, QSM, a social worker who has been campaigning for a night shelter for many years, described the situation in her open letter to Auckland mayoral candidates on 4 May 2016: "Most of our Homeless are either victims of Auckland’s deepening housing crisis, victims of physical or emotional abuse or neglect, suffer from disability, mental health or addiction issues, have little or no formal education or a combination of such factors. Homelessness is a complex issue for which there is no straightforward answer … "Without a stable base, Homeless people have no access to social services that might otherwise enable them to begin confronting the underlying factors that have resulted in them being on the streets. Further, as long as people are left to live on the streets without any support, they will be exposed not only to the elements but also to harm (such as physical and sexual violence)… "Homelessness in Auckland has become a desperate social issue and the time has come for the city to accept its responsibility for it. While any long-term strategy should be informed by the “Housing First” approach, applied with real success in states such as Utah in the United States, a night shelter will always be the necessary starting point - it represents the foundation on which a broader and more robust framework can be built … "Visitors to Auckland are greeted by the sight of our Homeless on the streets of our city - a stark contradiction to the ‘most liveable’ status Auckland craves. The failure of the city to provide basic human needs is on display for all to see. This cannot be allowed to continue.” References An open letter to Auckland mayoral candidates http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11632965 Watch: moves are afoot to set up a night shelter http://www.newshub.co.nz/home/shows/2017/12/gimme-shelter.html Housing First and night shelters http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mark-horvath/its-not-housing-first-or_b_4536727.html A new volunteer has come to central Auckland to help https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/102019944/Fire-chief-moves-from-idyllic-South-Island-town-to-help-Aucklands-homeless Campaign for night shelter continues http://www.tewahanui.nz/politics/campaign-for-auckland-cbd-night-shelter-continues Watch: Maori TV story about the need for a night shelter http://www.maoritelevision.com/news/regional/alleged-rape-homeless-highlights-need-shelter Watch: TVNZ story about plans for a night shelter in Nelson St, City Centre https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/lawyers-auckland-city-safe-haven-homeless-needs-little-bit-more-funding-make-reality?variant=tb_v_1
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  • Ban pokies - protect whānau
    Last year pokie machines took in $890 million from New Zealand communities. This doesn't include the $586 million lost at casinos. The pokie business model is predatory by its nature, relying on the highly addictive design of the machines, and targets people on low incomes. In wealthy areas of our country there is one pokie machine for every 465 people, whereas in poorer areas there is one for every 75 people. This means that much of that $890 million came directly from the pockets of families in hardship. Most recently, the South Waikato District Council approved a site permit for a new mega gambling centre in Tokoroa, a town where many families already face the stresses of unemployment, insecure work and low wages. Former New Zealander of the Year, Dr Lance O'Sullivan has described this plan as "disgraceful" and "predatory". Our Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, has said that reducing child poverty is the reason she got into politics, and has taken on specific responsibility for this as the Minister for Child Poverty reduction. Her government has committed to setting bold goals for reducing poverty, and identified a range of policies that would help to do this. One simple step the Prime Minister could take, which would immediately reduce whānau poverty, would be to ban pokie machines in New Zealand. These machines are highly addictive, and do enormous harm to some of the families doing it toughest in our country. This harm is supposedly justified because a portion of the gambling profits is distributed to community and sports groups. This means the families who are worst off in our communities are not only being exploited by predatory gambling businesses, but also that the people least able to do so are subsidising community services that should be funded by everyone fairly, through taxes. This makes no sense at all. Please add your voice to the call on our Prime Minister to protect families from predatory gambling businesses by banning all pokies now. References: Pokie statistics from Problem Gambling Foundation NZ: https://www.pgf.nz/pokie-statistics.html Ban pokies to reduce child poverty, Newshub: http://www.newshub.co.nz/home/new-zealand/2017/11/ban-pokies-to-reduce-child-poverty-lance-o-sullivan-to-pm.html Mega-gambling centre in Tokoroa: https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/industries/99550519/tokoroa-mega-gaming-venue-looks-at-tab
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  • 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.[1] 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.[4] 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; 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
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  • Save NZ’s largest study of children and their families
    The government has recently cut funding to Growing Up in New Zealand. What is this research about, who is it for, and why does it matter? Based at the University of Auckland, Growing Up in New Zealand (GUiNZ) is the largest and most diverse longitudinal study to ever track the lives of children in Aotearoa/New Zealand. It is the only study to track them from before birth through young adulthood. This groundbreaking study represents the lives and stories of almost 7000 children and their families, providing unique insight into what shapes children’s early development and how interventions might be targeted at the earliest opportunity to give every New Zealand child the best start in life. Where previous research conducted in Aotearoa/New Zealand had much narrower frames of reference, GUiNZ is the first study specifically designed to look at outcomes for Māori, Pasifika, and Asian children. The study is an important and unique opportunity to support the children of Aotearoa/New Zealand – it tracks the socioeconomic factors that lead to inequality, while also picking up other influences such as disability and disease. The government recently cut funding to GUiNZ. These cuts will result in only having enough money to collect information from 2000 participants in the upcoming data collection wave. While some may argue that children left out of this wave can be picked up next time, if continuity is lost, the data can no longer be called truly longitudinal. Inadequate funding of GUiNZ will create holes in the data. There is a risk with such a reduced cohort size, that researchers will no longer able to identify when risk factors facing our tamariki become statistically significant. For the research to succeed (to be able to conduct good, sound, scientific analysis for as many health and wellbeing outcomes as possible) it is essential that all dots stay connected. Losing continuity is disrespectful of all the time and effort this huge group of participating whānau has donated –finding and retaining participants will become so much harder. Why has this funding been cut? The current government believes that "big data" (data collected during our everyday dealings with governmental systems like the doctor and WINZ) can tell us all we need to know. Those with any scientific training can tell you it can't, and it won't. Gathering data from people before we know what is going to happen in the lives, shows us so much more. Big data doesn’t have access to biological samples, nor does it give us the depth of information required to understand why families make the choices they do. Please sign and share our petition. Then talk about this study - to your family, to your neighbours, to your friends, to your MP and local candidates. The more people that know about this, the more likely we are to have funding restored. We believe the funding of this critical research should be a priority for the next government of New Zealand. Thank you for showing us you think this is important, too. http://www.growingup.co.nz/en/about-the-study.html http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/84054547/Is-the-future-of-the-ambitious-Growing-up-in-NZ-Study-in-doubt
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  • Support Healthy Housing in New Zealand
    The home environment we live in plays a huge role in our own health, and the health of our families. Every winter in New Zealand, about 1600 deaths are attributed to people living in cold, damp homes (1). Compared to many other developed countries, New Zealand has much higher rates of people being hospitalised for lung diseases such as asthma (2). Living in cold, damp, mouldy environments places our families at much greater risk of having acute attacks. It is incredibly important that people with such illnesses are not treated just to be sent home to the environment that made them sick. The World Health Organisation recommends that houses should be insulated so that they are at least 18°C, a minimum temperature where lung (respiratory) illnesses are less likely to occur (3). Unfortunately up to a third of New Zealand’s homes do not meet this minimum standard, with the average temperature in poorer households being 13°C (3,4). This issue is therefore impacting on the health of our poorest communities and needs to be addressed by our government. It is also clear that insulating homes well would be much more cost-effective for the government. Programmes such as “Warm Up New Zealand” have shown that the savings associated with subsidising insulation and heaters far outweighs the costs by nearly 4 times (cost-benefit ratio of 3.9) (5). The government currently spends $5.5 billion per year on lung (respiratory) illnesses such as asthma, with much of this being preventable (6). Without a doubt, we strongly believe the Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill (No.2) is a step in the right direction. However there is still much that needs to be done. Together, we can make a difference in ensuring that New Zealand homes are warm and insulated, to improve the health of our children and families. References 1. Nichol R. 1600 deaths attributed to cold houses each winter in New Zealand. The New Zealand Listener. June 2017. http://www.noted.co.nz/currently/social-issues/1600-deaths-attributed-to-cold-houses-each-winter-in-new-zealand/#.WT9lYy9meGk.facebook 2. OECD (2011), Health at a Glance 2011: OECD Indicators, OECD Publishing. 3. Auckland Regional Public Health Service. Housing and Health in Auckland. Chapter 6: Cold, Damp and Mould. Pages 25-27. 2005. 4. Howden-Chapman P, Matheson A, Crane J, Viggers H, Cunningham M, Blakely T, et al. Effect of insulating existing houses on health inequality: cluster randomised study in the community. BMJ. 2007;334(7591):460. 5. Howden-Chapman P, Arnold R, Telfar-Barnard L, Preval N, Young C. Cost Benefit Analysis of the Warm Up New Zealand: Heat Smart Programme. 2012. 6. Barnard L, Baker M, Pierse N, Zhang J. The impact of respiratory disease in New Zealand: 2014 update. 2015
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  • Pay equity for aged care Nurses
    Recently the government passed an historic pay equity claim for health care assistants and support workers which is being widely celebrated in aged care. It is fantastic to hear that these hard working carers will be paid a liveable wage for the excellent work they do in an important sector of healthcare. However with this pay rise for health care assistants and support workers, the issue surrounding Registered Nurse pay rates in aged care is highlighted. Registered nurses in the aged care sector have long been overlooked, and on average make $5-15 less* than DHB acute care nurses with the same years of experience. The standard rate of pay for health care assistants is now only $1-4 less than an aged care Registered Nurse, despite the level of responsibility we take or experience we have. Within 5 years of the new pay scale plan the health care assistants will begin on a higher rate than many aged care nurses earn even after several years experience. We are the ones delegating the tasks, and addressing complicated health, social and emotional issues that arise from the care of our most vulnerable. We are caring for those with multiple co-morbidities, working without a doctor onsite, making difficult decisions on a day to day basis, using a broad and varied range of knowledge of both acute and chronic care management and end of life care. As we make these decisions, we are liable. Is the level of responsibility we take really only worth an extra dollar or two than a health care assistant? Is my degree really worth so little to the government? Aged care nurses are crucial, but if they are not paid what they are worth, many will continue to leave the sector, and few will enter it. Why become an aged care nurse if you make less than an acute care nurse? Why enter the nursing field if you can be on a higher rate as an HCA without the 3 year degree? Without the critical thinking and knowledge of RNs, the aged care sector will soon fall apart. We need to be encouraging nurses into the sector as it grows, and paying them what they are worth for the complicated and difficult work they do everyday. However with the limited funding available this is an issue our managers cannot afford to address without support from the government. *based on rates at my workplace vs. local DHB
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  • Better Mental Health Education in All NZ Schools
    We want to see a happy, healthy and productive New Zealand. One of the biggest barriers to this is our widespread problems with mental health. In fact, one in five New Zealanders will be diagnosed with a mental health problem this year, and we have the highest youth suicide rate in the world, but there is a huge lack of knowledge about prevention, and recovery in the general population. Current school programmes focus on counselling and only allude to wellbeing in the context of physical health, but this is educating too little and intervening too late. Furthermore, Health is only compulsory in the curriculum up to Year 10, meaning that they may face the stressful times of NCEA and transition out of school without enough support to their Mental Health. Better trained teachers and/or external providers need to deliver clear and consistent messages about mental health. I started this petition because I faced a lot of distress at the end of high school, and I blamed my friends, my parents and especially myself before I realised that there might be an underlying cause to my extended distress, and even then I was hesitant to ask for help because I feared judgement. So many of my friends have stories like this, and I strongly believe that good education for all young people will encourage them to seek help sooner and improve outcomes long term. All young Kiwis need to know how to best keep themselves well and support each other, and we believe a comprehensive mental health curriculum in schools will help to achieve this. Media: http://www.stuff.co.nz/auckland/90756147/mental-health-campaigner-lucy-mcsweeney-wants-to-shake-up-mental-health-education-in-schools http://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/on-air/nutters-club/why-we-need-mental-health-education-in-schools-part-1/ http://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/on-air/nutters-club/why-we-need-mental-health-education-in-schools-part-2/ More information: If you need help - don't be afraid to reach out, it's not a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength - here's some people who will be there for you: Lifeline 0800 543 354 or (09) 522 2999 Suicide Prevention Helpline 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOK0) Youthline 0800 376 633 Sources: NZ youth suicide twice Australia’s https://www.odt.co.nz/news/national/nz-youth-suicide-twice-australias Suicide accounts for a third of all deaths in those aged 15-24 http://thewireless.co.nz/articles/turned-away-in-a-crisis
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  • Take GST off tampons and sanitary pads and other related reusable products
    Taxing non-optional items such as sanitary pads is unfair and forces households already under pressure to make choices between hygiene and other essential items such as food. It is estimated that in a lifetime, someone who uses sanitary products every month will have to spend close to $10,000 on tampons alone. The high cost of tampons, sanitary pads and related products impact most on people with a lower income. Everyone who needs tampons, sanitary pads and other related, reusable products, should have access regardless of income. They are essential items and when access is restricted it can create health risks. Agencies such as the Salvation Army and budgeting services are finding that young girls in New Zealand are unable to afford tampons and are missing out on school because of this. There have been reports of girls and women using rags, newspaper and even of people washing and re-using sanitary pads which is unhygienic, and infections have been reported. Background In February I started an OurActionStation campaign to encourage Pharmac (the New Zealand government agency that decides which pharmaceuticals to publicly fund) to subsidise tampons and sanitary pads for everyone. However on 18 April it was announced that Pharmac has declined the application, as in its view, “sanitary products are not medicines or medical devices."[1] Pharmac's decision is a big disappointment and a wasted opportunity. It could have been a chance for Pharmac to really stand up and support girls and women who are paying a huge amount to bleed in this country. There is something we can do though. Many countries around the world have removed the tax from tampons [3] or are campaigning to remove it, [4] making these products more accessible and we reckon New Zealand should do the same here! Quotes: "Especially for young people, children at school. The young girls are getting to that stage of life and some of them are missing school, because their families can't afford to buy sanitary products. We know the stories of women having to wash store-bought one-use sanitary pads and then reuse them, which is quite unhygienic and also quite degrading in a sense. We're hearing of women getting infections." Pam Waugh, The Salvation Army head of social services References: 1. Pharmac rejects request to fund tampons, pads, RNZ, 19 April 2017 http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/political/329040/pharmac-rejects-request-to-fund-tampons,-pads 2. Pharmac considers funding sanitary products, RNZ, 20 Feb 2017 http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/324865/pharmac-considers-funding-sanitary-products 3. https://www.thestar.com/life/food_wine/2015/06/04/toronto-woman-behind-campaign-to-kill-tampon-tax-ecstatic-over-victory.html 4. https://www.change.org/m/end-the-sexist-and-illogical-tax-on-tampons-sanitary-pads-and-mooncups-period
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  • Designate Funding in the 2017 Budget for Postnatal Depression Early Intervention
    The Current Situation • 1 in 8 women experience Antenatal Depression and 1 in 5 women experience Postnatal Depression. It is understood that women are experiencing significantly delayed and sometimes missed diagnosis (1) – estimated at around 63% of women with PND (2) • These women are missed due to poor screening and referrals while under midwifery care (3 &4) • Once diagnosed, General Practitioners (GP’s) are expected to manage a woman’s PND in their short 10-15 minute appointments at an estimated cost of $50 to the patient. Both the limited time and the cost of this appointment are barriers to a woman getting sufficient help for her mental illness. • The only treatment/intervention currently available to assist women in their recovery from mild-moderate PND is to obtain medication through a paid appointment with their GP and private counselling. There is no Government-funded holistic programmes with proven outcomes of recovery from depression/anxiety available to women who have mild-moderate PND • In most cases, counselling is only subsidised by the Government if an individual has a community services card and a diagnosis from their GP to apply for WINZ funding. This leaves a large portion of New Zealand women who are unable to afford counselling for PND and therefore, they are not adequately recovering from it What are we needing funding for? • Professional Development training of midwives in the onset, prevalence, identification, screening, treatment and intervention of AND/PND and when and whom to refer • A service delivering early intervention assessments and recovery programmes with proven outcomes to women with AND/PND who do not fit Maternal Mental Health criteria in the Primary Health sector • Subsidised (free) counselling for all women experiencing Antenatal or Postnatal Depression/Anxiety Why is it needed? Undiagnosed and untreated AND and PND has a significant impact on a woman, her partner and her child. • For the woman and the child, depression has been associated with substance abuse, an increased risk for pregnancy-induced hypertension contributing to pre-eclampsia, gestational bleeding, diminished uterine artery blood flow and poor birth outcomes including foetal death, preterm birth and labour, small infants for gestational age, low birth weight, low Apgar scores and increased risk of neonatal special care and intensive care unit admission (4). She is more likely to develop chronic (ongoing) depression and anxiety the longer it continues untreated. It is more likely to increase in its severity and this puts her at greater risk of suicide. In fact, suicide is the leading cause of maternal deaths in New Zealand (5&6) • The partner is at-risk of developing “partner depression” and their relationship is at-risk of breaking down/divorce the longer her depression is left undiagnosed and untreated (5&6) • The unborn child is at risk of developing anxiety and cognitive, emotional and behavioural issues (4) • In the first three years of life, a child to a mother with undiagnosed and untreated postnatal depression is more likely to experience insecure attachment. This means that the child is more at risk of developing learning difficulties, mental illness, addictions, delinquency, and is at greater risk of suicide as a child or later in life (7,8.9) • Failing to provide prevention and early intervention assessment and recovery services to women at-risk or experiencing Antenatal or Postnatal Depression/Anxiety has a far greater cost to New Zealand than the cost of providing it (10) We believe that the funding of early intervention services to women at-risk or experiencing Postnatal Depression is imperative and needs to be addressed urgently by designated funding in the 2017 budget. References: 1. New Zealand Guidelines Group. (2008). Identification of Common Mental Disorders and Management of Depression in Primary Care [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.health.govt.nz 2. Mothers Helpers. (2015). Postnatal Depression in New Zealand and Feedback on Maternal Mental Health Services. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.mothershelpers.org.nz 3. PANDA (2010). Australian Postnatal Depression Website Recognised As World’s Best . [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.panda.org.au/. 4. Jones, C. J. (2009). Emotional Disturbances During Pregnancy & Postpartum: A National Survey of Australian Midwives & An Educational Resource. Griffith University, Gold Coast. 5. Health Quality and Safety Commission New Zealand (2012). Report finds suicide remains leading cause of maternal death. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.hqsc.govt.nz/. 6. Best Practice Journal (2009). Purpose and Introduction. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.bpac.org.nz/. 7. Stein, A., Gath, D. H., Bucher, J., Bond, A., Day, A., Cooper, P. J., (1991). The relationship between post-natal depression and mother-child interaction. British Journal of Psychiatry. 158, 46-52 8. Fergusson, D.M., Horwood, L.J., Lynskey, M.T., (1995). The stability of disruptive childhood behaviors. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology. 23 (3), pp.379-396 9. Ministry of Health (2012). Healthy Beginnings. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.health.govt.nz 10. Mothers Helpers (2015). Mothers Helpers' Submission to the Ministry of Health. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.mcagnz.org
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    Created by Kristina Paterson
  • Legalise the use of medicinal cannabis
    In June 2017 the ActionStation community won a campaign to allow doctors to prescribe medicinal cannabis. The changes are welcome but do not make a big difference for people in need. There is a lack of CBD only products on the international market and none being approved in New Zealand – meaning no greater access to products in the short term, and no real difference to the current situation. Let’s now get behind the proposed Bill. The medical use of cannabis should be legal, accessible and affordable. Many thousands of Kiwis, often older people, are using cannabis products for medicinal purposes, and in doing so are breaking the law as it now stands. Support the legalising of medicinal use of cannabis, and show MPs that we want common sense approaches to an issue that is about our health, not law and order. UPDATE - 2 June 2017 WIN! Today Associate Minister for Health, Peter Dunne, has just announced that the Government will allow doctors to prescribe medicinal cannabis. Thanks to you and the over 6000 people who signed the petition calling for this change! Associate Health minister Peter Dunne on Friday announced the medicinal cannabis product cannabidiol (CBD) would no longer require a person to get Ministry of Health approval to use it. The changes mean CBD would be able to be prescribed by a doctor to their patient and supplied in a manner similar to any other prescription medicine. Mr Dunne said it was a move towards legalising medicinal cannabis, but wouldn't "immediately bring about a revolution". "I have taken advice from the Expert Advisory Committee on Drugs (EACD) that CBD should not be a controlled drug, and am pleased Cabinet has now accepted my recommendation to make this change. "Therefore, I am now taking steps to remove restrictions accordingly." Common sense has prevailed with overwhelming public support. This will make a huge difference to people dealing with severe chronic pain and improving their quality of life. You can email the Associate Minister to congratulate him on his decision at p.dunne@minister.govt.nz News coverage: Kiwis will now be able to get medicinal cannabis from their doctor, Government announces http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/93268869/restrictions-on-medicinal-cannabis-product-to-be-removed-government-announces **** Medicinal cannabis is used by an estimated 178,000 New Zealanders to treat a variety of ailments such as chronic pain, epilepsy, Parkinson's, appetite loss and nausea. It is currently possible to get legal access to cannabis drugs for medical purposes, however it is a expensive and prohibitive process. Stories “I hadn’t thought much about medicinal marijuana until Helen Kelly campaigned for better access last year. It’s not something you really have to think about, until you or someone you love is sick and in pain, and could be helped by a cannabis-based treatment. That is now the case for me. So, no more sitting on the sidelines. It’s time to make sure people whose health and well-being depend on access to medicinal marijuana treatments can get them from their doctor, safely and without risk of criminal charges.” Marianne Elliott, Director of Strategy and Story, ActionStation Jessika Guest moved from Whangarei to Colorado so that her daughter Jade, 7, could use medical marijuana. Jade's diagnoses include hypotonia (a state of low muscle tone) and epilepsy, which used to cause up to 40 seizures a day. In Colorado, she has been on skin patches containing cannabinoids and tetrahydrocannabinolic acid - a non-activated THC which means the cannabis does not have high-inducing properties. Mrs Guest said her daughter's seizures have since decreased in frequency by 90 per cent. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11415156 [Alex Renton’s] treatment included groundbreaking use of medicinal cannabis oil, Elixinol, after a campaign by mother Rose and family after conventional treatments did not work. http://www.stuff.co.nz/nelson-mail/news/70155247/cannabis-treatment-teen-alex-renton-sparked-national-debate McKee had his leg amputated 30 years ago after a car accident and smokes cannabis to relieve phantom pains. Last year, he fought charges of selling and cultivating cannabis all the way to the Supreme Court but lost and is now serving a six months' home detention sentence. http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/9655674/Cannabis-spray-priced-out-of-reach-say-patients More information Changes to medical cannabis legislation http://www.nzherald.co.nz/national/news/video.cfm?c_id=1503075&gal_cid=1503075&gallery_id=171181 Why isn’t medical marijuana a shoe-in? (Toby Manhire & Toby Morris) http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/297299/why-isn't-medical-marijuana-a-shoe-in Support for cannabis reform: why so high? http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/on-the-inside/311073/support-for-cannabis-reform-why-so-high Nelson lawyer Sue Grey takes government to High Court over cannabidiol http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/88612808/nelson-lawyer-sue-grey-takes-government-to-high-court-over-cannabidiol Helen Kelly backs medical marijuana http://www.newshub.co.nz/nznews/helen-kelly-backs-medicinal-marijuana-2015060910 New Zealand urged to grow cannabis for medicinal purposes http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/farming/77453718/New-Zealand-urged-to-grow-cannabis-for-medicinal-purposes Medicinal cannabis https://www.drugfoundation.org.nz/cannabis/medicinal-cannabis https://www.drugfoundation.org.nz/matters-of-substance/august-2015/QandA-Toni-Maree-Matich
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