Submission to the Child and Youth Well-being Strategy
December 5th 2018
This is only the introduction of each section and the conclusion. Read the full submission here (pdf)
1) Health Care System
New Zealand children are experiencing an epidemic of chronic disease.
The 'new normal’’ of children’s health includes - allergies, anaphylaxis, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), autoimmune disorders (diabetes, childhood rheumatoid arthritis, arthritis, multiple sclerosis etc.), thrombocytopenia purpura (ITP), autism, speech delay, neurological disorders, encephalopathy, meningitis, ADHD, childhood cancers, and more. This epidemic of serious childhood illness must be terrifying for parents, medical professionals, educators, the NZ Treasury and all New Zealanders. How are we going to manage the financial and emotional costs in years to come?
This epidemic needs to be managed using a different paradigm because what we are doing is clearly not working. We need to reassess the causes – starting now!
In our view the best way to manage long-term health costs is to focus on the creation of good health as being the primary goal instead of an increasingly more expensive disease management system. This would have the added benefit of making the health budget sustainable. The first step should involve an open and objective analysis of the current health care model to assess cost-risk-benefit and analyse whether what we are doing in health care is actually the most beneficial for our children. Improving children’s health has the flow on of long term healthy adults – a win-win for the health care budget.
2) Mental Health
We are very concerned about the increasing number of young New Zealanders currently taking anti-depressant medication, and the alarming number of young people committing suicide.
Pharmac figures show that in 2007/08, antidepressant prescriptions included 14,733 for 6 to 18 year olds, and 72 for children aged five and under.
Ninety Seven percent of the Western European population, and the entire population of Japan, drink non-fluoridated water. More and more studies are uncovering the detrimental effects of fluoridation on health, and proving that the benefits for teeth are minimal or non-existent, yet our Ministry of Health continues to vigorously promote it.
4) Dental Health
Regular dental care should be accessible for all children, whether at their local school or through mobile dental clinics. Poor dental hygiene has a dramatic effect on other aspects of children’s health and well-being.
Our government has never funded a causality study that would disprove the association between vaccination and the ‘new normal’ of children’s health. Independent research needs to be carried out to examine whether all the vaccines being recommended today are safe, effective and necessary for the protection of the community. It is also important to have comprehensive evidence that it is safe to inject multiple vaccines simultaneously before continuing this practise.
6) Organic New Zealand
It is a matter of urgency that Government strongly encourages the use of non-hazardous farming practices to reduce the chemical loading on our young people. There are positive benefits for the whole community in regenerative agriculture - building healthy fertile soils rather than the use of artificial fertilisers and pesticides where our food supply is grown.
Good food grows healthy children so NZ needs a healthy food policy whereby food supplies provide an acceptable level of nutrition – a high mineral and vitamin content. Food should not be just free of bacteria, but have high nutrition value, low to no pesticide residue, low sugar content, low/no preservatives, and no-transfats and toxic /damaged fats - in other words safe to eat in every sense of the word.
New Zealand can no longer afford to use uncontrolled chemical agriculture. Agrichemical sprays have long term negative effects and synergistic negative effects in combination. Horticulture is close to where people live so people are exposed to spray and spray drift, whether they are working in orchards or not. Children are more affected by sprays due to their size, metabolic rate and development.
8) Mothers for Mothers Program
At risk mums and families who qualify should be eligible for support person - a “super-mum” who can help new parents transition smoothly from perhaps a dysfunctional family environment to a place where they can learn best practise for child raising.
Super-mums should be both experienced in child rearing from practical, hands on experience of being a mother, and have had extra training to learn how to support new parents who may not have had the best start in life themselves.
9) Cannabis Law Reform
We suggest legalisation of NZ grown, non-GMO, pesticide-free and organically produced cannabis for medicinal purposes, including raw forms and proprietary forms of whole plant medicinal cannabis products. Medicinal cannabis has the potential not only to relieve the suffering of New Zealanders with a range of medical conditions, but also to significantly reduce current healthcare costs.
10) Funding of Child and Youth Well-being Strategy
The ‘user pays’ mantra of neo-liberal economics has created demands on family incomes that have put undue pressure on lower income families and the once-thriving middle class. More shamefully, a quarter of New Zealand children have been forced into poverty. It is a priority of Social Credit to remove these demands, and allow families access to a full range of social services without further eroding incomes.
Many of the suggestions we have made are likely to be considered “too expensive” to be put into operation. However if they were considered an investment in the social capital of our society they are likely to provide significant long term benefits, as would substantially improving the financial status of low income families.
Maria Bradshaw, co-founder and CEO of CASPER (Community Action on Suicide Prevention Education & Research) wrote "Suicide rates increased in states that reduced their per capita expenditures for public welfare during the 35-year period, 1960 to 1995. In 1990, not only were suicide rates higher in states that spent less for public welfare than in states that spent more, but states' spending for public welfare was the only variable that accounted for the widening of differences in states' suicide rates."
Australian economist, Peter Self, declares that “health, housing and education are the basic requirements of individual welfare as well as being essential for the prosperity and effective functioning of a modern society....” He adds that, although these requirements may be less tangible than material goods, the social elements of welfare are vital ingredients for our “social capital”.
In Paul Dalziel’s contribution in “The Decent Society” - a book published in response to the austerity policies implemented by the National government of the 1990s - he admits: “On the expenditure side, the first call on government funds is its interest commitments on public debt. This item accounts for nearly 20 per cent of tax revenue, and is the legacy of decisions by previous generations to finance budget deficits by issuing public debt.”
"Given that most of the bonds issued by Treasury are owned by and owed to overseas creditors, it is obvious that we are being short-changed by a financial system which also needs “a good rethink" - better still the recognition that such an analysis has been the focus of Social Credit thinking for several decades, the result being the development of practical and ethical financial policies for funding the infrastructures basic to a healthy economy.
Hence our claim that our sovereign central bank, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand is equipped to credit-fund (at a small service charge only) what is needed by society. Indeed, a decade ago the RBNZ was operating a credit facility amounting to five billion dollars for the major banks to aid them through their liquidity crisis.
We urge the working group to look at the $4,700,000,000 currently allocated by the government for debt servicing annually and recommend in your report that funding for government borrowing be sourced from the Reserve Bank to free up that wasted interest for investment in a comprehensive Child and Youth Well-being Strategy. Additional funding from the Reserve Bank specifically for the Child and Youth Well-being Strategy could also be made available.
This submission has been prepared for the Social Credit Party by Tracy Livingston.