Dr Matt Boyd, Prof Michael Baker, Prof Nick Wilson
The Global Health Security Index which considers pandemic threats has just been published. Unfortunately NZ scores approximately half marks (54/100), coming in 35th in the world rankings – far behind Australia. This poor result suggests that the NZ Government needs to act promptly to upgrade the country’s defences against pandemic threats.
Dr Lindsay Robertson, Dr Jerram Bateman, Professor Janet Hoek
Members of the public health community hold divergent views on how access to vaping products or electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) products should be arranged. Some believe ENDS should be as widely available as smoked tobacco and argue for liberal access. However, others suggest smoked tobacco should be much less available than is currently the case and propose that only retailers skilled in supporting smoking cessation should sell ENDS. In this blog, we probe concerns about allowing widespread availability of ENDS and related products. We first draw on related research into smoked tobacco products and then discuss findings from our recently published study that questions the wisdom of allowing ENDS to be sold by non-specialist retailers.
Nick Wilson, Richard Edwards, George Thomson, Andrew Waa, Janet Hoek
In this blog we review the case for the Smokefree Aotearoa 2025 Goal. We find that this is an ideal health goal given the large health gains, impact on reducing health inequalities, and savings in health costs that will follow from achieving it. Arguments against having such a goal are also considered.
Prof Nick Wilson, A/Prof George Thomson, A/Prof Simon Hales, Prof Michael Baker
The NZ Ministry for the Environment has produced a valuable discussion document with many good ideas for improving the health of waterways in New Zealand. But there are important gaps. In this blog we consider three big ticket items to include in an integrated strategy to improve our waterways: a fertiliser tax, taxing ruminant animal products, and promoting the right sort of reforestation with a high carbon price.
Nick Wilson, Leah Grout, Mereana Wilson, Anja Mizdrak, Phil Shoemack, Michael Baker
Protecting waterways has the benefits of: (1) protecting water from hazardous microbes; (2) minimising cancer risk and other problems from nitrates in water; (3) avoiding algal blooms that are hazardous to health; (4) protecting mahinga kai uses (cultural importance and food security); (5) facilitating safe recreational water use; (6) minimising flooding risks from silted up waterways; and (7) protecting renewable energy from waterway sediments. In this blog we briefly consider these issues and why health workers and agencies should now do submissions on protecting waterways to the Ministry for the Environment, as part of a current consultation process which ends on 31 October.