Friday, 06 April 2018 11:56

Govt may force NZ rural health organisation to close

Written by 
Michelle Thompson. Michelle Thompson.

New Zealand’s umbrella rural health organisation will move to shut down if it does not receive government funding next week.

The Rural Health Alliance Aotearoa New Zealand (RHAANZ) today agreed that it will cease operating should the government not provide some core funding support.

RHAANZ first presented a funding bid to the Minister of Rural Communities Damien O’Connor and the Minister of Health David Clark back in November last year and due to unfortunate delays on their behalf, it still does not have an answer, chief executive Michelle Thompson says.

“Our financial situation is now precarious. There are more than 600,000 people living in rural New Zealand, equivalent of easily being the country’s second largest city.

“We feed New Zealanders three times a day, not with junk food, but with good quality protein, fresh fruit and vegetables. One in every five dollars generated in the economy either directly, or indirectly, comes from the agri-food sector.

“Yet it does not feel like we get anywhere near this level of resourcing or attention.

“The endless gnawing away at services for rural communities has to stop. Rural Kiwis have lost their hospitals and schools. We are facing under-funded health services, emergency services, midwives and airports.”

Thompson and chair Martin London will meet O’Connor next Thursday to discuss the government’s funding offer.

Thompson says for the last five years RHAANZ has become a leading health voice for New Zealand’s communities.

“RHAANZ has a vital function in bringing a cross-sector rural health, rural industry and rural community voice to both enunciate rural health issues and to identify and resource solutions.

“For the organisation to disappear from the scene, at a time when rural health itself is as precarious as ever, would be a terrible loss of goodwill, synergy and expertise.

“There are only two other national rural health alliances in the world, and both have received central funding in recognition of their value to both government and communities. New Zealand needs to follow that lead,” Thompson says. 

 

More like this

Nats nailed on NAIT

Ag Minister Damien O’Connor says while, on paper, the NAIT system is very good, he blames the present low level of farmer compliance on the previous government which he says ignored warnings about this issue. 

22,000 infected cattle to be culled

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) will begin a cull of 22,332 cattle on all properties infected with Mycoplasma bovis after scientific testing and tracing confirmed the disease was not endemic.

Rural health needs addressing – RHAANZ

Sorting health issues will help improve the safety of rural communities, says Rural Health Alliance Aotearoa New Zealand chief executive Michelle Thompson. 

 
 

» Latest Print Issues Online

The Hound

Waste of money

Your old mate is so excited (not!) to hear yet another committee has been formed to go with the 40…

No sh%t, Sherlock

A mate of yours truly says he was flabbergasted by the incoherent response of the body overseeing NAIT, following the…

 

» Connect with Rural News