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Preventable illnesses on MP's agenda

BRIDGET RAILTON
Last updated 05:00 06/06/2014

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Southlanders face a future of reduced health care services, longer wait times and increased costs if more is not done to address preventable illness in New Zealand, a Green MP says.

Kevin Hague was in Invercargill yesterday to speak about challenges in the health sector which he says are more widespread than it appears and would have flow-on effects to the provincial communities.

Hague, the Green party health spokesperson and former West Coast District Health Board chief executive, said there had been a marked decline in preventing illness in New Zealand and there needed to be a shift back to a preventative focus.

He said that while it may not be readily obvious at this stage, in years to come primary health care providers would be overwhelmed in dealing with the fallout from illnesses that should have been prevented in the first place.

Hague said Southland, like many areas in New Zealand, had to find the balance between the economic gains from dairy farming, and the impact on the environment in the long run.

Those farmers that were out to make a quick buck and had little care towards the environmental impact would be better off voting National, he said.

However, if farmers continued to move towards more environmentally sound farming practices then a better balance would be reached.

However, the ACT party has a different view and yesterday took a swipe at the Greens proposed carbon tax.

ACT Party Primary Industry joint spokesmen Don Nicolson, in a statement, said the carbon tax was an abuse of a government's power to tax.

"The carbon unit that they want to tax is not even real; it is a highly politicised theoretical unit that is of too questionable a value to tax."

He said there was a lack of scientific link between livestock methane emissions and atmospheric methane concentration and therefore should not be taxed at all.

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