Health Minister Jonathan Coleman and Associate Minister Nicky Wagner welcome a new report which shows a continued downward trend in the percentage of pregnant women smoking.
The latest Report on Maternity shows 14.2 per cent of pregnant women smoked early in their pregnancy, down 2 per cent compared to 2008. That’s around 1,170 fewer pregnant women smoking compared to seven years ago.
“Evidence shows the earlier pregnant women quit smoking, the better the chances are for their baby,” says Dr Coleman.
“Smoking is the primary preventable cause of stillbirth, premature delivery and low birth-weight for babies. It also increases babies’ risk of Sudden Unexplained Death in Infancy (SUDI).
“The Government recently set the goal of reducing the overall rate of SUDI by 86 per cent and 94 per cent for Maori by 2025. To do this we have made reducing the rate of smoking in pregnancy even further a focus area for the National SUDI Prevention Programme.”
“This efforts to stump out pregnant women’s smoking habits are part of a much larger work plan,” says Ms Wagner.
“The Government is taking a sustained, evidence-based approach to reducing smoking, including implementing standardised packaging, legalising e-cigarettes and broadening smokefree policies at the local and regional level.
“We’ve made solid progress over the last few years, reducing daily smoking rates from more than 18 per cent to about 14 per cent. But we’re now at the hard end, and many smokers tell me they need help to quit.
“I look forward to releasing smoking cessation data and an update on the Government’s e-cigarette legislation in the coming days.”
The 2015 Report on Maternity can be found here.
Applications are open for round seven of the Maintaining the Quality of Great Rides Fund, Associate Tourism Minister Nicky Wagner announced today.
Part of the Government’s $8 million investment over four years, the funding supports trail governance bodies to maintain the Great Rides of Nga Haerenga, the New Zealand Cycle Trail to a world-class standard.
“With over a million users per year, the 22 Great Rides are encouraging tourists to visit the regions, bringing new business to small communities and contributing almost $40 million to regional economies annually,” Ms Wagner says.
“The Government, through the tourism strategy, is focused on supporting the sector to attract high-value visitors — we need people who spend more, stay longer and explore areas throughout New Zealand, as well as the main tourist spots.
“The Great Rides support these aims by providing great experiences around the country for Kiwis and international visitors alike.
“Through the Maintaining the Quality of Great Rides Fund, nearly $5 million has already been approved for 59 projects, including improvements such as surface enhancements, safety barriers, track re-routing and storm damage repairs.”
Budget 2016 included additional funding of $25 million over four years for the extension and enhancement of the trails, bringing the total investment in the New Zealand Cycle Trail since its inception in 2009 to over $75 million.
Applications are open to Great Rides governance organisations and close on Friday 8 September 2017. For more information, visit: http://www.mbie.govt.nz/info-services/sectors-industries/tourism/nga-haerenga-new-zealand-cycle-trail
The Christchurch earthquakes have had a significant impact on the make-up and distribution of people in Canterbury, Minister supporting Greater Christchurch Regeneration Nicky Wagner says.
The latest Greater Christchurch Dashboard — Population looks at changes in the resident population, including cultural diversity.
“As many of us who live in the region have seen first-hand, there’s been a significant population shift from Christchurch City to the neighbouring Selwyn and Waimakariri districts,” Ms Wagner says.
“And while that’s been well documented, the key is understanding how changing population trends and projected growth affect long-term planning for greater Christchurch.
“The Urban Development Indicators report and recent Greater Christchurch Monitoring Report both utilise population data to contribute to and inform long-term planning around land use, housing, consents and transport.
“The central city population is still well below 2010 levels but projects such as the East Frame, the Margaret Mahy Family Playground, the bourgeoning Retail Precinct and Te Papa Ōtākaro/Avon River Precinct all make the central city an increasingly attractive place to live, work and play.
“Greater Christchurch is also more ethnically diverse than it once was, with people from all over the world, particularly Ireland and the Philippines, as well as more Maori and Pacific people.
“And while many places around the country are in the midst of a ‘man drought’, Christchurch has almost 6000 more young men aged 20-29 than women of the same age.”
Note: The Greater Christchurch Dashboard — Population is attached.
Associate Health Minister Nicky Wagner says a new resource is available to help people with low vision better manage everyday tasks.
Low vision — reduced vision or vision loss that cannot be corrected or improved by glasses, medicine or surgery — affects an estimated 29,000 New Zealanders.
“Low vision can create problems with depth perception and peripheral vision, making it difficult to identify landmarks or obstacles. People with low vision can also have difficulty reading and writing, identifying faces or seeing at a distance,” Ms Wagner says.
“This new resource has information about how to cope with daily tasks using lighting, contrast, and inexpensive aids and devices, including large-print books, large-numbered clocks and different-coloured measuring cups.”
There is also a range of computerised or electronic equipment that can help, including large-print keyboards, speech recognition software and electronic magnifiers.
“Losing vision doesn’t mean giving up your usual activities but it can mean finding new ways of doing them,” Ms Wagner says.
“Regular eye examinations are the best way to prevent low vision or detect it early, so I encourage anyone experiencing problems with their eyesight to consult an eye health professional.”
The resource is available in both audio and print: http://www.health.govt.nz/publication/living-low-vision
The transfer of 17 properties from the Crown to Christchurch City Council marks the completion of a vital safety project along the Sumner-Lyttleton Corridor, Minister supporting Greater Christchurch Regeneration Nicky Wagner says.
“The corridor is currently the only way to access Sumner — a community of about 4000 people — so bunds and rockfall drapes have been installed to protect the route and road users,” Ms Wagner says.
“For many years, ballasted shipping containers have lined the corridor and while they’ve been effective, the bunds are a more attractive long-term solution.”
Seventeen properties along the corridor, acquired by the Crown as part of the residential red zone recovery, have now been transferred to Council ownership.
“The transfer marks another milestone in the repair and regeneration of the Port Hills area,” Ms Wagner says.
LINZ, the agency that manages residential red zone properties on behalf of the Crown, arranged the transfer. The Council took ownership late last month, and will be responsible for future use and maintenance of the land.
Minister supporting Greater Christchurch Regeneration Nicky Wagner is today releasing further details on the Government offer to support the reinstatement of ChristChurch Cathedral.
“I recently received a letter from the Church Property Trustees (CPT), which manages the Cathedral, asking a number of questions about the Government offer,” Ms Wagner says.
“It’s absolutely vital that CPT and all 225 members of the Synod are in a position to make an informed decision when they meet in September. It’s also important that the wider community is engaged in the discussion and has access to the same information.
“That’s why I’m releasing the Government’s response to CPT’s letter, a more detailed breakdown of the estimated cost of reinstatement, plus an updated ‘frequently asked questions’ document.
“ChristChurch Cathedral is not only a place of worship, it’s a widely recognised symbol of our city, significant category one heritage building, a community facility and a tourist attraction. This offer, put together with the support of Christchurch City Council, is designed to bring resolution to a situation that has dragged on for far too long.
“It’s difficult for the rest of New Zealand and the world to see Christchurch’s progress when the Cathedral sits in the central city neglected and decaying.”
The Government offer is to reinstate the Cathedral at an estimated cost of $104 million, including new ancillary buildings.
The documents released today and further information can be found at: http://www.ccwg.org.nz
The Government will establish a pre-market approval system for smokeless tobacco and nicotine-delivery products, other than e-cigarettes, Associate Health Minister Nicky Wagner says.
This follows a decision in March to legalise the sale of nicotine e-cigarettes.
“There are a number of products available internationally — including heat-not-burn, snus, moist snuff, dissolvables and inhaled nicotine — that may be significantly less harmful than tobacco smoking,” Ms Wagner says.
“By creating a pathway to enable the sale of these products in New Zealand, smokers will have access to less harmful alternatives.
“The Government is proceeding cautiously. Manufacturers will need to demonstrate their products are significantly less harmful than tobacco smoking and that their introduction into New Zealand will contribute to a smokefree future.”
Any approved products will need to comply with tobacco-style requirements, including sale restrictions.
To ensure an efficient approval system and to minimise costs, the regulator will have the ability to take into account any product approvals made by trusted overseas regulators and utilise any suitable international standards.
“The Government is taking a sustained, evidence-based approach to reducing smoking. This is yet another way we can help Kiwis kick the habit for good,” Ms Wagner says.
An amendment to the Smokefree Environments Act will be introduced into Parliament in early 2018.
For more information, visit: http://www.health.govt.nz/smokeless-tobacco-and-nicotine-delivery-products
An overhaul of smoking cessation services has had a significant impact on quit rates, Associate Health Minister Nicky Wagner says.
Sixteen new regional smoking cessation services began operating in July last year with the aim of better supporting smokers who need help to quit, especially Māori, Pacific and pregnant women.
“So far over 9000 people have enrolled in the new services, but what’s really telling is the significant improvement in the overall quit rate,” Ms Wagner says.
“The rate has jumped from 34 per cent in 2014/15 to 44 per cent for the year to date.
“International evidence shows high quality stop smoking services can lead to a quit rate of 50 per cent. Some of the new services have already achieved this and others are on track to do so.
“Counties Manukau has one of the most successful programmes, with quit rates of 57 and 55 per cent for its Maori and pregnant clients respectively.
“These results are partly due to a successful incentives programme, which provides pregnant women with vouchers for achieving milestones, including remaining smoke-free. The service is also well integrated into the local community and responsive to clients’ needs.”
All new cessation services are part of regional tobacco control networks and liaise closely with local partners and key stakeholders, sharing ideas and practices to improve their performance.
“The Government is committed to making New Zealand smokefree by 2025 through a wide range of evidence-based interventions, including implementing standardised packaging, legalising e-cigarettes and broadening smokefree policies at the local and regional level,” Ms Wagner says.
Disability Issues Minister Nicky Wagner is welcoming the decision to include questions on disability in the 2018 Census.
“The Census collects important data about who we are as New Zealanders. Including a question set to identify people who are disabled will provide us with valuable information about their lives,” Ms Wagner says.
The questions are based on the Washington Group Short Set of Questions on Disability — considered best practice internationally for identifying disabled people in population censuses.
“The United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities has indicated New Zealand needs to collect better data about disabled people, so I’m pleased to see we’re rising to the challenge and doing the right thing by this diverse group of Kiwis,” Ms Wagner says.
“Having up to date and meaningful data is critical for understanding the experiences of disabled people as well as informing policy development and service planning. Along with information gathered from talking to disabled people about their experiences, census data will be used to develop outcome measures for the New Zealand Disability Strategy 2016–2026.”
The Washington Group Short Set of Questions on Disability was recently included in the New Zealand General Social Survey and the Household Labour Force Survey. Other sources of national disability data include the 2013 Disability Survey, The New Zealand Health Survey and The New Zealand Mental Health Survey.
A new report on the Government’s response to the Canterbury earthquakes will become a key emergency management planning tool, Minister supporting Greater Christchurch Regeneration Nicky Wagner says.
The Whole of Government Report analyses and references the findings of more than 200 works of published literature on the Canterbury earthquake sequence, and identifies more than 50 lessons across five key areas.
“This report captures a number of lessons from the Government’s response to the Canterbury quakes, provides a solid platform for future learning and legacy-type work, and complements other initiatives such as the EQ Recovery Learning website,” Ms Wager says.
“The Canterbury quakes were an unprecedented disaster and the Government, its partners, local agencies, and the community had limited experience or resources from which to draw.
“As we all know, the last six years have been a steep learning curve. We didn’t always get it right, but we made the best decisions possible with the information we had at the time.
“Taking the opportunity to reflect and learn means each time we have a significant quake, such as the one in Kaikoura last November, we do better — our response is faster, more targeted and more effective.
“One of the key lessons from both international experience and our own recovery planning, is that a single lead entity removes local confusion and provides much-needed certainty. The Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA) was up and running quickly, and provided leadership and coordination during an incredibly difficult time.
“Our recovery and regeneration is an ongoing process. As both the Christchurch Mayor and I have signalled, there will be a number of opportunities to continue to reflect on our challenges and achievements over the coming years.”