Minimum pricing of alcohol: what does the evidence say?

Tuesday, May 27th, 2014 | Kate Sloane | 7 Comments

Professor Tony Blakely, Professor Jennie Connor, Associate Professor Nick Wilson

As a strategy to reduce harm from alcohol, there is growing interest internationally around the setting of minimum prices on alcohol. In this blog we review a paper just published in the Lancet on this approach. We also consider the potential implications for New Zealand around combining minimum pricing with increases in alcohol excise tax.

Professor Jennie Connor, University of Otago, researches the public health impacts of alcohol policy in NZ

Professor Jennie Connor, University of Otago, researches the public health impacts of alcohol policy in NZ

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Improving the health of our children: Project Energize bang for the health $

Wednesday, May 21st, 2014 | Kate Sloane | No Comments

[Editor note, Blakely and Wilson: This is an invited blog by Professor Elaine Rush, in which she overviews the recent Budget from a child health perspective, and then lays out the case and evidence for Project Energize].

Professor Elaine Rush, AUT

The highlight of the 2014 Budget for children was $90 million to make GP visits and prescriptions free for children aged under 13 from 1 July 2015. There was also $40 million for a new Healthy Families NZ campaign to encourage New Zealanders to eat healthier and exercise more. This is modelled on the Australian Health Together Victoria Programme which encompasses more than schools and is a systems approach. This is needed too – we need to work upstream, downstream and with communities. We also need to have evaluations to show that this type of investment is working – accountability for the money that the government and agencies charged to invest in New Zealand for the people. Continue reading

Antiviral Stockpiles for Pandemic Preparedness: Time for a Careful Rethink?


Associate Professor Nick Wilson and Professor Michael Baker

As part of influenza pandemic readiness, NZ has a 32 million dollar stockpile of flu virus - bestantiviral drugs. But given recent evidence from a new Cochrane systematic review – NZ policymakers should probably now carefully review this approach. This blog discusses some of the new evidence and suggests options for a review process. Continue reading

Insights into health system costs of living and dying in New Zealand – New study

Friday, May 2nd, 2014 | TONY BLAKELY | No Comments

Professor Tony Blakely and Associate Professor Nick Wilson (and on behalf of co-authors June Atkinson, Giorgi Kvizhinadze, Nhung Nghiem, and Heather McLeod)

A study in the NZ Medical Journal shows how public spending on health varies markedly by age and proximity to death (Blakely et al 2014, health system costs). It raises interesting questions about the best use of taxpayer funds for preventing and treating ill health. In this blog we detail the main findings of this study and reflect some of the possible implications. Continue reading