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

Changes to further improve NAIT scheme

Proposed law changes to further improve the National Animal Identification and Tracing (NAIT) scheme were unveiled last week by Minister for Biosecurity Damien O’Connor.

No ‘major’ changes to DIRA

There will be no major changes to the Dairy Industry Restructuring Act (DIRA), says Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor.

DIRA changes are coming

The reform of the Dairy Industry Restructuring Act (DIRA) need not be radical but there will be some changes, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor has indicated.

Farmers warned of climate change risk

Ag Minister Damien O’Connor has warned farmers that if they don’t take account of climate change in their production systems they could be jeopardising access to major markets.

Not happy with Westland

Westland Milk's decision to sell to Chinese company Yili may get the nod of farmer shareholders but politicians aren’t happy.

 
 

» Latest Print Issues Online

The Hound

Fail!

PM Jacinda Ardern may have many talents, but an understanding of business is clearly not one of them.

The good life?

Your canine crusader admires those people in high positions who do not take their own self-importance too seriously and are…

 
 

» Connect with Rural News