The Havelock North drinking water inquiry: A wake-up call to rebuild public health in New Zealand

Wednesday, December 20th, 2017 | dayhi34p | No Comments

Prof Michael Baker, Prof Nick Wilson, Prof Alistair Woodward

The huge campylobacteriosis outbreak in Havelock North in August 2016 caused by contaminated drinking water was a public health disaster. The second report of the Havelock North Drinking Water Inquiry describes a long list of failings that contributed to the outbreak. In this blog we argue that the failings are much broader than the safety of drinking water supplies and represent a serious erosion and fragmentation of NZ’s national public health institutions. What is needed now is a major stocktake and rebuilding of our country’s national public health capacity.

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NZ’s Environmental Protection Authority in a muddle over weed killer

Wednesday, August 16th, 2017 | dayhi34p | 4 Comments

Prof Alistair Woodward*, A/Prof Andrea t’Mannetje**, Dr Dave McLean**, Prof Jeroen Douwes**, Prof John D Potter** (*Auckland and **Massey Universities)

Last year the New Zealand Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) chose not to accept the assessment of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) that the herbicide glyphosate (the active ingredient in “Roundup”) was a “probable carcinogen”. Instead the EPA commissioned its own report which found that glyphosate is “unlikely to be genotoxic or carcinogenic”, a significant departure from IARC’s conclusion. An investigation by the Green MP Stefan Browning released two weeks ago raises serious questions about the process followed by the EPA. The controversy has been given fresh life by comments made by the Chief Scientist for the Authority, Dr Jacqueline Rowarth. Her attempt to justify what happened gives a muddled account of risk assessment, and misrepresents her own Authority’s publication. In this blog, we explain why it is important to understand the issues raised by the EPA pronouncements on glyphosate and the potential implications for chemical safety more generally. This is now particularly important as the EPA is about to undertake an expanded review of hazardous substances in New Zealand.

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Note to the Havelock North Inquiry – Think Big

Monday, September 26th, 2016 | Kate Sloane | 4 Comments

Prof Alistair Woodward, A/Prof Simon Hales

Muddy fieldAn Independent Inquiry is now investigating the cause of the water-borne outbreak caused by Campylobacter in Havelock North. In this blog we consider the background to this issue and argue the Inquiry must not miss the opportunity to think up-stream, on the scale of water catchments, agricultural economies and climate systems.

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Public Health at the Movies: A Selection of 35 Top Movies

Tuesday, April 7th, 2015 | Kate Sloane | 4 Comments

Associate Professor Nick Wilson, Dr Peter Gallagher

We have assembled a collection of 35 high quality movies as part of public health teaching for medical students. In this blog post we detail the movies and reflect on some of the aspects that make them both educational and entertaining.

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