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NZ: Public Health Bill – two great submissions

Among the 11 submissions on the Public Health Bill heard last week were two gems. These were not reported in the media.

An opportunity that can’t be missed – Quigley and Watts Ltd

The Public Health Bill gives the government the opportunity to hit non-communicable disease hard, public health specialist Rob Quigley told the Health Select Committee.

Rob told the Committee looking at the Bill that in New Zealand we are expecting a huge rise in health costs due to an aging population and the increase of non-communicable diseases, such as cancer or diabetes. We can’t do anything about aging but we can limit the rise of non-communicable diseases. The Public Health Bill gives the government the opportunity to hit non-communicable disease hard.

“We can’t afford this opportunity to be missed,” he said.

Quigley and Watts say in their submission that they are anxious the Bill is not weakened in any way by having the clauses relating to regulation of non-communicable diseases removed. “It is our view that it is imperative the Government has the power to regulate to reduce the risk factors for non-communicable diseases and that the Bill is robust enough to allow regulation to be successfully enacted.”

More supportive environment needed – Sport Wellington

Sport Wellington wants a more supportive environment within which to run its programmes. It supports the Bill’s intention to use regulation to moderate the influence of businesses and business practices where voluntary measures to create healthier environments are insufficient.

Active Communities manager Caroline Gordon told the Select Committee that Sport Wellington is becoming increasingly involved in health-related programmes, such as Active Families and Green Prescriptions. But it is very difficult running these programmes in an obesogenic environment.

Caroline was particularly concerned about marketing junk food to children. She told the Committee that changes to TV advertising to children would help. As example of marketing practices to which she was opposed she mentioned children collecting rugby cards in packets of chippies. This is “fantastic marketing” for the food manufacturer, she said.

Published on April 11, 2008 in New Zealand news