Retiring Health Minister Tony Ryall was in town to help launch Chester Borrows' campaign for a fourth term as MP for Whanganui. Whilst he was here he made a very significant announcement which has delighted a local health provider; check this out:
15 August, 2014
$2m initiative for healthier Wanganui families
Health Minister Tony Ryall today announced Te Oranganui has been selected to lead a $2 million anti-obesity initiative in Wanganui which will help families improve their health.
Mr Ryall shared with news with locals while out and about in Wanganui this morning with Whanganui MP Chester Borrows.
“Healthy Families NZ is a new $40 million initiative which aims to improve people’s health where they live, learn, work and play in order to prevent obesity,” says Mr Ryall.
“It is a complete reform of the way we address the underlying causes of poor health, including obesity, smoking and excessive drinking.
“Te Oranganui, who is also the lead agent of Whānau Ora in the region, will lead the Healthy Families NZ initiative in Wanganui. They will recruit a dedicated health promotion workforce who will work with schools, early childhood education centres, workplaces and sport clubs to encourage and support people to make healthy lifestyle choices.
“Encouraging individuals and their families to live healthy, active lives is part of the government’s approach to reducing the prevalence and consequences of chronic disease in New Zealand,” says Mr Ryall.
From October 2014, Healthy Families NZ will roll out to 10 communities – East Cape, the Far North District, Invercargill, Lower Hutt, Rotorua, Whanganui, Manukau, Manurewa-Papakura, Spreydon-Heathcote and Waitakere. It is expected to reach around 900,000 New Zealanders.
Healthy Families NZ is based on one of the very few anti-obesity programmes that actually work - Healthy Together Victoria programme from Australia.
Te Oranganui is far more than "just" a Whanau Ora provider. It is a leading , innovative health promotion organisation with a track record of success in improving outcomes.
The Healthy Families NZ initiative is an excellent one. As Mr Ryall notes above, it is about a new approach to chronic diseases such as those arising from obesity, smoking and drinking. Although Te Oranganui is an Iwi Health Authority, it works right across the community. In addition to operating Te Waipuna Health Centres in Wanganui, Waverley and Ohakune, Te Oranganui offers a range of services including disability support, mental health liaison, and services for infants, children, youth, families and the elderly.
This investment in the Whanganui region will be most welcome. Getting to the root of issues such as obesity will lead to significant savings further down the track. We commend the Government for showing in a tangible way that it is Working for Whanganui.