Economic Development Minister Simon Bridges, Sport and Recreation Minister Jonathan Coleman and Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Maggie Barry have applauded the successful DHL New Zealand Lions Series after the final test last night at Eden Park.
“Last night’s dramatic stalemate capped off a hugely successful ten-match tour that has taken the British and Irish Lions the length of New Zealand and had a significant impact on our economy,” says Mr Bridges.
“The series has further reinforced New Zealand’s capability in hosting world-class major events. The Government has been proud to contribute $3 million through its Major Events Development Fund to help host cities deliver the Rugby 2017 Festival.
“Events like these showcase our country internationally. The series was expected to attract around 20,000 international visitors to New Zealand and the matches have been broadcast to an estimated audience of 200 million.”
“The series was full of spectacular moments and the excitement and entertainment, both on and off the field, has captivated the nation and tens of thousands of international visitors,” says Dr Coleman.
“Last night’s game was an epic thriller in the best traditions of the great Lions tours with the series ultimately ending in a draw. Both sides played some great rugby over the series and it will live long in the memories of New Zealanders.
“It was also fantastic to have over 20,000 British and Irish fans here in New Zealand. Their good humour and enthusiasm really made the tour.
“Everyone involved, from the tournament organisers and host cities to the various Government agencies who played a role, are to be commended for delivering such a high calibre, world class series.”
“The Rugby 2017 Festival provided a programme that included around 90 events and experiences across the seven host cities. This was a hugely successful opportunity to celebrate New Zealand’s rich culture and showcase our world-renowned Kiwi hospitality,” says Ms Barry.
“The festival events brought out pride in our host cities. I believe New Zealanders felt a real sense of manaakitanga – providing our own unique way of hosting international visitors.”
More detailed information about the numbers of attendees at festival events and the economic benefits the series has reaped will be available later in the year once analysis has been completed.
Health Minister Jonathan Coleman is welcoming the return of a campaign which tells people how to identify the signs of a possible heart attack.
The Heart Foundation campaign includes an award-winning TV commercial which shows people acting out what people often expect a heart attack to look like, while another person is quietly experiencing actual symptoms.
“Heart disease is New Zealand's biggest killer, it’s responsible for more than 6,000 deaths a year or around 16 deaths a day,” says Dr Coleman.
“A recent survey from the Heart Foundation found our awareness around heart attack symptoms is fairly low, with almost 80 per cent unable to identify all the major signs and symptoms of a heart attack.
“The survey also found that over 40 per cent of us would hesitate to call 111 if we were suffering the symptoms of a heart attack.
“The return of this successful awareness campaign should help further educate people about both the signs and symptoms of a heart attack and the need to act quickly.”
Symptoms of a heart attack include prolonged discomfort or pain, frequently in the chest, but occasionally in the jaw, neck or arms. Associated symptoms may include nausea, breathlessness and excessive sweating.
The Heart Foundation’s Heart Attack Awareness campaign will run from today until the end of the month, with support from the Ministry of Health and the Milestone Foundation.
Sport and Recreation Minister Jonathan Coleman has today announced a suite of new appointments to a range of sports boards.
“I believe that strong leadership which sets a clear strategic direction is important for our sport boards in New Zealand. To achieve this a diverse range of people, skills and backgrounds are needed,” says Dr Coleman.
“Joining the Sport New Zealand board are experienced sport administrator Hilary Poole and former New Zealand Hockey captain Kylie Clegg.
“Olympic cyclist Sarah Ulmer ONZM has been reappointed to the Drug Free Sport Board for a further year. Keven Mealamu MNZM, former All Black and World Cup winner, has also been appointed to the board for a three-year term.
“Former Silver Ferns Coach, Ruth Aitken ONZM joins the New Zealand Sports Tribunal for a five-year term. Ms Aitken has recently returned from heading Singapore’s national netball programme and holds a high performance management role with the Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic netball team.
“Doug McKay ONZM has also been re-appointed for a further three-year term to the Eden Park Trust Board, which he currently chairs.
“Mr McKay’s leadership and commercial experience as a director of major New Zealand companies brings critical leadership to the board particularly as it develops a new financial strategy for a premier sport stadium in Auckland.
“These new appointments all bring significant knowledge and experience to their roles and will be an asset to their respective Boards.
“I would also like to acknowledge the outgoing Board members for their service.”
The Government will invest $5 million in Emirates Team New Zealand to ensure it can retain key staff while planning is underway for the next America’s Cup regatta, Economic Development Minister Simon Bridges and Sports and Recreation Minister Jonathan Coleman announced today.
“Emirates Team New Zealand displayed incredible talent and innovation during the 35th America’s Cup campaign,” says Mr Bridges.
“This investment of $5 million will go some way towards protecting the valuable intellectual property, experience and skills that rest with key team members.
“While the location for the 36th America’s Cup has not been decided yet, we do know that hosting a regatta in New Zealand has the potential to generate significant economic benefits.
“The America’s Cup regattas hosted in New Zealand in 2000 and 2003 had a significant impact on the New Zealand economy generating around half a billion dollars of total value added per regatta, particularly in the marine and tourism sectors.
“New Zealand Trade and Enterprise also held a successful business leverage programme at the 34th America’s Cup in San Francisco in 2013 which generated trade and investment deals for New Zealand worth $200 million and a further $120 million of new sales opportunities and investor interest.”
“It’s great to have the America’s Cup back in Kiwi hands. I would like to congratulate chief executive Grant Dalton, helmsman Peter Burling, skipper Glen Ashby and the rest of the team, both on the boat and on shore,” says Dr Coleman.
“This win is an inspirational achievement and builds on our proud sailing heritage, and I’m confident it will help to inspire our next generation of yachties.”
“It’s great to have the America’s Cup racing its way back to Auckland following the team’s compelling win in Bermuda last week.”
Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says a pay rise is on the way for 55,000 of the health sector’s lowest paid workers.
“Tomorrow (1 July) is an historic day for care and support workers with the $2 billion pay equity settlement coming into effect,” says Dr Coleman.
“This means that the 55,000 care and support workers in aged and disability residential care, and home and community support services will receive a pay rise of between 15 and 50 per cent.
“For the 20,000 workers currently on the minimum wage of $15.75 per hour, their pay will increase to at least $19 per hour, a 21 per cent pay rise. For a full-time worker, this means they will be taking home around an extra $100 a week, or more than $5,000 a year.
“The higher wages will make a real difference to the lives of this group of workers, with the settlement correcting the historic undervaluation of their work in caring for some of New Zealand’s most vulnerable people.”
The Care and Support Worker (Pay Equity) Settlement Bill, which passed unanimously earlier this month, prescribes the new wage rates that will be phased in over the next five years.
Existing workers will be transitioned to a point on the new pay scale which reflects their skills and experience, while new workers will progress on the basis of their qualifications alone.
The settlement also gives workers access to increased training and qualifications which is expected to result in lower staff turnover and a more highly skilled workforce.
Dr Coleman says the Ministry of Health is continuing to work closely with funders and providers to ensure the first pay run goes smoothly.
“Over the past two months the Ministry has held nationwide information sessions, set up an implementation helpdesk, made advance payments to providers, and released guidance tools to support providers to meet their legal obligations.
“I want to thank the unions, funders, peak bodies, providers, and workers for their cooperation in implementing the settlement.”
The $2.048 billion settlement is primarily being funded through an increase of $1.856 billion to Vote Health and $192 million to ACC.
The settlement follows the TerraNova pay equity claim brought by E tū on behalf of care worker Kristine Bartlett.
Minister of Health Jonathan Coleman has launched a national strategy which aims to lift the rate of deceased organ donations and therefore increase the number of people who can receive a transplant.
“Organ transplantation is a life-saving treatment that is often the best, or only, option for people with organ failure. It can not only improve a person’s quality of life, but also their life expectancy,” says Dr Coleman.
“For example, for someone with end stage kidney disease they either need a transplant or hundreds of hours of dialysis each year.
“A record number of organ transplants were carried out in 2016, with 61 deceased donors providing 181 organs to be transplanted.
“We’ve been making great strides in the area, with the rate increasing by 57 per cent in the past four years, but our rates are relatively low compared with other countries which highlights that there’s room for improvement.”
The Deceased Organ Donation and Transplantation National Strategy launched today follows wide public consultation and work with the sector.
The strategy’s priorities include to:Further increase public awareness of organ donation; Make it easier for people to register, update and share their wish to donate with family and clinicians; Increase the hospital-based capacity for deceased organ donation to take place; Empower intensive care staff to discuss the organ donation process; Establish a national agency to lead the implementation of the strategy, and have a clear mandate to increase our rates deceased organ donation and transplantation.
“To support this we’re investing $500,000 in 2017/2018 to increase specialist medical and nursing organ donation capability within some ICUs,” says Dr Coleman.
“The strategy complements the Government’s recent initiative to increase transplants through increasing live organ donations.
“Budget 2017 committed $700,000 a year to help remove the financial deterrent to becoming a live organ donor.
“The Compensation for Live Organ Donors Act, brought by MP Chris Bishop, will come into force by 5 December 2017.
“It means people who donate a kidney or part of a liver will be eligible for 100 per cent loss of earnings compensation for up to 12 weeks from surgery while they recover.
“This will further help to increase our donation rates and supports the overall direction the new strategy launched today.”
The Ministry of Health is currently developing the systems and processes to meet the Act’s provisions.
Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says from today a new free 24/7 four digit phone and text number will make it easier for people to connect with mental health and addictions professionals.
“It’s important that we talk about our mental health and wellbeing with our friends and family, but it’s equally as important that there is professional support available when we need it,” says Dr Coleman.
“Need to talk? 1737 is free to call or text from any landline or mobile phone, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
“It’s a new and easy way to access the existing National Telehealth Services provided through the Alcohol and Drug, Depression, and Gambling Helplines. These helplines will still be accessible through the same phone numbers, but 1737 creates a new front door.
“Research shows that four digit numbers are easier to remember, and that they can attract a wider range of people who may feel other specific lines are not suited to their needs.
“The same trained mental health professionals who currently respond to calls, texts, webchat and emails across the existing National Telehealth Service mental health and addiction helplines will be on hand to support people who call or text 1737.
“In line with international trends, here in New Zealand we’ve also seen an increase in demand for mental health and addiction services in recent years.
“We know that around 47 per cent of New Zealanders will experience a mental health issue during their lifetime – and one in five will meet the criteria for a mental health diagnosis in any given year.
“To help address this, the phased implementation of the Early Mental Health Response service continues.
“Once it is fully implemented across the country the Early Mental Health Response service will give NZ Police and Ambulance staff the option to transfer 111 callers who need non-urgent social or psychological support to a 24/7 mental health nursing team for assistance.
“Budget 2016 invested $12 million over four years into the initiative which is currently operating with Police north of Waikato and will be fully implemented by the end of 2017.”
The new 1737 number and the Early Mental Health Response service are part of a much larger work programme focused on modernising our mental health and addiction services.
Budget 2017 committed an extra $224 million over four years into this area, including $124 million in new innovative approaches.
Cabinet will soon consider a new mental health strategy, which will further outline the Government’s new approach.
Health Minister Dr Jonathan Coleman welcomes the introduction of free chickenpox vaccination for 15 month olds, beginning on 1 July.
“The introduction of the free chickenpox vaccine for 15 month olds will have a significant impact on reducing the harm caused by this common disease,” says Dr Coleman.
“Chickenpox is a common childhood disease that is usually mild, but can lead to complications including scarring, skin infections, pneumonia, eye damage, swelling of the brain and kidney problems.
“One dose of chickenpox (or varicella) vaccine is funded for children turning 15 months of age on or after 1 July 2017. This will protect most immunised children from chickenpox. The few who do still catch the disease despite being immunised will be protected from its most severe effects.
“While most people catch chickenpox as children, those who catch the disease as adults are at much higher risk of serious illness. For this reason, children turning 11 years of age from 1 July onwards who have neither had chickenpox or been immunised against it will also be eligible for a free dose of the vaccine.
“Every year, several hundred people need hospital treatment for complications resulting from chickenpox, and from time to time it can cause long term disability or death.”
Countries such as the United States and Australia that have included the vaccine on their immunisation schedules have seen dramatic reductions in the number of people needing hospital treatment for chickenpox complications.
Chickenpox vaccine has been available for private purchase in New Zealand since 1990s, and has a long safety record internationally.
Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says an increase in interest in general practice amongst medical students is a promising trend.
“It’s important that health facilities around the country are well equipped to provide New Zealanders with the treatment that they need, when and where they need it,” says Dr Coleman.
“To ensure this happens we need to continue with the current planned programme to gradually increase the number of doctors coming through the pipeline into general practice.
“In recent years there has been a concerted effort to attract graduating medical students into general practice, which includes utilising the Voluntary Bonding Scheme and rural immersion programme for medical students which can include general practice.
“A recently released Otago University survey funded by Workforce NZ suggests that these efforts are taking seed.
“The survey found that of the 375 medical students who completed their study in 2015 the most popular preference was general practice, chosen by just under a quarter of recipients.
"When asked what influenced their choice, the top three factors included the ability to positively impact on people’s lives, the work atmosphere, and their experience as a student training"
“The number of GPs is growing, increasing from 3,178 vocationally registered GPs in 2014 to 3,444 in 2016. The number of GP trainees enrolled in the three year GP training programme has increased from 125 in 2014 to 183 in 2016.
“The Workforce NZ survey also found that the vast majority of the 375 medical students (94 per cent) said they would want to seek work here in New Zealand.
“The Government continues to work hard to create an attractive economic environment so people want to stay and develop their professional careers.”
Further details on Workforce NZ and this survey can be found here: http://www.otago.ac.nz/medical-school/otago645047.pdf
Health Minister Jonathan Coleman has announced the Wellington Hospitals Volunteer Service as the overall winner of the 2017 Minister of Health Volunteer Awards.
“The Health Volunteer Awards celebrate and recognise the thousands of dedicated health sector volunteers who give many hours of their time to help other New Zealanders,” says Dr Coleman.
“Well done to those who were nominated and congratulations those recognised as outstanding achievers, the judges were impressed by the quality of this year’s entries.
“I would like to congratulate the overall winners, the Wellington Hospitals Volunteer Service. Wellington Hospitals Volunteer Service make the patient and visitor experience easier and more enjoyable across the region.
“Their 450 volunteers committed time, energy and enthusiasm to the tune of around 12,000 hours last year to support patients who are often going through a difficult time.
“Last year alone they greeted about 30,000 patients and visitors, took them to their appointments, provided nearly 5,500 hours of support in the Emergency Department and produced 9,000 garments for babies, children and older people staying in hospital.”
Dr Coleman presented the Minister of Health Volunteer Awards in Parliament today, during National Volunteer Week, 18 – 24 June.
Outstanding achievers were recognised across five categories – healthcare service provider, community or NGO, youth health, Maori and Pacific health, and long service.
A full list of recipients and categories can be found at: http://www.health.govt.nz/volunteerawards