Press Release – New Zealand Labour Party
1 March 2013 MEDIA STATEMENT
Diabetes – a wakeup call for NZ
An Otago University study that has found almost a quarter of Kiwis are likely to develop diabetes cannot be ignored, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says.
“The study reveals a looming crisis and that’s something Health Minister Tony Ryall can’t hide from. It is time for some serious action.
“Unfortunately this government is obsessed with treatment and acute models of health care, rather than prevention, early intervention and effective management of long-term conditions.
“Public health has disappeared off the radar. National has not only dropped diabetes as a health target and buried it as a prevention priority, but it has slashed funding to many public and preventative health initiatives introduced by Labour to try and tackle the problem.
“In 2003 Labour introduced the Healthy Eating- Healthy Action plan. We also launched the healthy eating in schools programme, and in 2007 we made diabetes a health target.
“Mr Ryall has been warned repeatedly that prevention is better than cure. He knows international evidence shows that apart from the health implications, the wider economic implications of the disease are significant.
“I realise he doesn’t see issues such as a diabetes epidemic as sexy as tables of performance indicators, but the implications are too serious for him to ignore. The study should be the last wakeup call Mr Ryall needs.
“It is now time for a stocktake of where we are at with diabetes, by bringing together medical professionals, Diabetes NZ, academics and consumers, to look at where we are at with regards to research, screening, and monitoring, and the appropriateness of current services.
“That will arm us well for the World Diabetes Congress in Melbourne in December, where we can look at what other countries are doing with our eyes open, and hopefully cement a diabetes prevention strategy into our public health programme.”