Our Vision: We want to create a country where we are admired by the world not just because of our wonderful natural environment, but because of the way we live. A way of life that protects and enhances that environment.
23rd April 2020 this policy and associated documents are copyright April 2020 NZ Outdoors Party.
Health Care Policy:
The Outdoors Party believes that the most important thing a person can possess is the gift of good health and the most important thing a government can do is to ensure the health of the nation. We envision a world class system that is based on a regenerative and holistic approach to health that combines conventional and complementary approaches. This system would take an integrated approach to biological, functional and environmental medicine and lifestyle that will inform, educate and empower the patient, their family/whanau and their community to create and maintain their own health and well-being.
“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” (Australian economist, Peter Self)
Integrative Medical Centres for better health outcomes
The NZODP will advocate and allocate funding for nationwide Integrative Medical Centres, where patients can access the best of conventional and natural medicine. Practitioners will work together in partnership to provide personalised healthcare based on multi-disciplinary medicine to ensure best possible health outcomes in a timely fashion. These clinics will provide a wide range of psychological and physical therapies that may include but not be limited to: Rongoa Maori, Osteopathy, Chiropractic, Acupuncture, Physiotherapy, Naturopathy and Nutritionists, Ayurveda, Herbal, Homeopathy and counseling.
Facing modern health challenges
Our Nation is suffering an epidemic of asthma, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), autoimmune disorders (diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, thyroid disorders etc.), mental illness (anxiety and depression), neurological degeneration (dementia), stroke, undetected infections and their complications (rheumatic heart disease, Guillain-Barré Syndrome). Our leading causes of death are ischaemic heart disease, cancer (colorectal, breast, prostate, lung), suicide and trauma, diabetes, stroke and other diseases of circulation. (https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/populations/maori-health/tatau-kahukura-maori-health-statistics/nga-mana-hauora-tutohu-health-status-indicators/major-causes-death)
The NZODP recognizes that modern medical treatment may help alleviate a patient’s symptoms, but if the underlying cause is not resolved, the patient often experiences further deterioration of their health. It is clear that our medical system is not designed to prevent or heal chronic diseases.
Faced with this epidemic of degenerative illness, individuals need to take responsibility for their health alongside governmental organizations recognizing that it needs to address the societal causes of disease such as environmental toxins. (see our agricultural policies)
A new vision to create good health for our nation
Our nation has an amazing public health care system that provides emergency treatment free to all our citizens. We have wonderful, caring, highly trained medical professionals who do their best for their patients within the capacity of the system. However, The New Zealand Outdoors Party believes the creation of good health should be our primary goal, instead of an increasingly expensive disease management system.
The Outdoors Party recognises that good health is not “a coincidence” and is dependent on multiple factors including family life, work life, environmental toxins, nutritional status, and is not purely a factor of a person’s lifestyle choices. Decades of poor risk assessment means that kiwis are exposed to multiple toxic substances on a daily basis. Ignoring this as a cause of disease puts the burden of health on to individuals instead of society.
Review of the healthcare model
The NZODP will undertake an independent review of the current healthcare model. This assessment of cost-risk-benefit will be used to manage allocation of resources to those practices that show the most beneficial outcomes. Therapies that have proven benefit will be subsidised.
Better collection and use of health data
The NZODP will allocate funding for quality targeted epidemiology that accurately tracks the causes of poor health giving the MOH better data for allocation of resources for disease prevention.
Allied Health Wards
The NZODP will advocate for at least one ward in every hospital to be run as an “Allied Health Ward”, supporting those patients requesting alternative therapies. This allows for “the best of both worlds” approach – ensuring patients who desire it are still able to use treatments that align with their physical, emotional, mental and/or spiritual needs but have access to allopathic emergency services. IV vitamin C, in appropriate doses, will be made available to those who request it.
An effective Mental Health Strategy
The NZ Outdoors Party is very concerned about the increasing number of New Zealanders suffering from anxiety and depression, and the alarming number of people committing suicide. Very concerning to us, is that nearly 15,000 antidepressant prescriptions are being given to 6 to 18 year olds annually, and 72 for children aged five and under. (Pharmac 2008)
Maria Bradshaw’s well researched work regarding depression and suicide in New Zealand exposes that normal medical practise for mental health is clearly not working. The NZ Outdoors Party recommends using Maria Bradshaw’s research and recommendations to improve mental health outcomes and reduce the suicide rate in our people.
At the heart of the current mental health paradigm is the biomedical approach which fails to acknowledge the many psychological, social, environmental and nutritional factors that can contribute to mental health issues.
The NZ Outdoors Party will recommend reforms which encompass a more holistic multi-faceted approach to the treatment of individuals suffering the range of mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, schizophrenia and suicidal ideation.
This would include access to functional medicine and nutritional support as well as addressing the social determinants of health such as housing, social inclusion, meaningful work, access to education, financial support and meditation.
Recognising that Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) affect an individual’s health for their entire life, the OP will support programs for resolving emotional trauma.
As nearly 10% of psychiatric outpatients have medical disorders which produce psychiatric symptoms, NZ Outdoors Party will ensure all patients presenting with psychiatric disorders undergo a comprehensive health evaluation to rule out underlying health issues. Until this is achieved they should not be given medications without careful evaluation.
The New Zealand Outdoors Party will advocate and recommend the reinstatement of long term residential care homes for the safety and well-being of psychiatric patients. This will be a safe place that patients can receive a full diagnostic assessment, quality nutritional support, rest, therapy, as well as long term care for those who are no longer able to care for themselves out in society.
Implement Ministerial Advisory Committee on Complementary and Alternative Health Report
We will make a start on implementing the recommendations from the valuable, and completely ignored, 2004 Ministerial Advisory Committee on Complementary and Alternative Health https://www.moh.govt.nz/NoteBook/nbbooks.nsf/0/C64721A66307CAD4CC256EF200701547/$file/Complementary-and-alternative-health-care-in-New-Zealand.pdf
Clinical Toxicologists in a hospital setting
There are insufficient clinical toxicologists in hospitals, resulting in medical staff being unsupported to make meaningful and speedy diagnoses for patients affected by single or multiple exposures to toxic chemicals, thereby putting peoples’ lives at risk. The New Zealand Outdoors Party will allocate funding from the DHB’s for clinical toxicologists, for research, training and employment.
The Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers’ Rights.
The NZ Outdoors Party will uphold the intent of The Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers’ Rights. We defend the right of every person/parent/legal guardian to decline invasive medical procedures and interventions, including vaccination, or to access alternative treatment for their child with no resultant punitive action. This will never negate ensuring a child is in a safe environment and receiving the best possible healthcare for their condition whilst not overriding different belief systems.
Research into Antibiotics alternatives
NZODP will allocate funds for further research into effective, safe alternatives to antibiotics, as overuse of antibiotics has created “superbug” antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
Support for non-invasive testing procedures
Non-invasive testing procedures such as thermography for safe early detection of breast disease be subsidised and/or available through the hospital system.
Drug and alcohol rehabilitation
The Outdoors Party will support and resource a holistic approach to drug and alcohol rehabilitation, using already proven approaches such as “Hanmer Clinic Tauranga” as well as scientifically validated nutritional support available to those people fighting addiction.
Head & Brain Injury Strategy
Head and brain injuries have often unrecognised, serious long term harm.
Both head injury from trauma and brain injury from neurotoxic compounds causes chronic brain inflammation that needs immediate/acute and appropriate treatment as well as the best chronic care our country can offer. We will allocate funding for campaigns to attempt to reduce the most common causes of head and brain injuries.
The NZ Outdoors Party will allocate funding for research into the best treatments and supplements for healing head and brain injury, and make sure that this information is shared and used across the board in hospitals, clinics and in the sports sector and treatment is adequately funded.
Fair PHO payment
To allow for choice in medicine, the PHO amount of $600/person/year be allocated to each patient to be used for the health care of their choice – whether to their medical centre or other allied health practitioner. Many Kiwis work hard to maintain good health and are less of a financial burden on the public health system, this is a small way to reward those people.
Healthy Community Initiatives
We will fund and support community initiatives that encourage healthy eating, growing healthy food and support holistic health approaches to fitness, relaxation and other initiatives that support a healthy lifestyle. Networks that provide centralised support for a local community – Wellness Village Hubs combining the best of Plunket, Playcenter, Mothers for Mothers Program, and mentors, such as “Super Grans”, “Mens Sheds” and other appropriate organisations.
Our “Real-Food” Strategy
NZODP will support initiatives to increase use of organic, free range, GE-Free foods in New Zealand restaurants.
Good food grows healthy children so NZODP will create a Healthy Food Policy.
Food should not only be uncontaminated with harmful bacteria and pesticide residues but have high nutritional value, low sugar content, only safe preservatives, and no transfats and toxic /damaged fats – in other words safe to eat in every sense of the word
Even “Junk or Fun Food” should be free of chemical additives, addictive substances, pesticides and herbicides, excess sugar and be healthy for our children to eat.
The NZ Outdoors Party Health Food Policy supports a continued ban on the import and use of any products containing genetically modified components/ingredients.
Other measures to ensure health for New Zealanders will include –
1) Stop the importation of packaged and processed foods which do not adhere to strict “real-food” standards.
2) Ensure food produced in NZ adheres to the “real-food” standard.
3) Promote food education beginning at primary school to ensure that children know which foods are healthy. These programs should be based on the latest evidence that is free from commercial influence.
4) Conduct research into the use of ingredients in food that may cause chronic illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease. If the results can show unambiguous evidence of harm, removing those ingredients will become part of the NZ Health Food Policy.
5) Healthy food should be our cheapest option. Foods proven to be not beneficial to good health will be taxed accordingly pushing them into occasional “treat” status.
6) Secondary school kitchens will be made available for community cooking classes, going back to basics of cooking nutritious, delicious food. The “Super Grans” initiative is a good example of community members finding ways to support community health and wellbeing. Such community-based organisations will be supported to grow and increase their community reach and influence.
Compulsory year 11 Health Education curriculum
Understanding how the body works is empowering, therefore The NZODP will ensure a robust compulsory Health Education curriculum in Year11 covering basic human anatomy and physiology, basics of natural health maintenance, nutrition, emotional health, family health.
Improving dental health
Regular dental care should be accessible for all. NZ Outdoors Party will support government subsidies for adult dental treatment costs.
We are lucky in New Zealand to have dental clinics with experienced and competent dental nurses in most schools. However, The Outdoors Party will ensure that only toxin-free products are used in school dental clinics and children’s dental health across the board. Amalgam and slow-release fluoride fillings must be phased out.
Education on good dental hygiene and good nutrition to build healthy teeth will be made part of the primary school curriculum, Yr 11 Health Curriculum, Plunket program, and the Mothers for Mothers program.
Mothers for Mothers Program
The NZ Outdoors Party will create a new program for mothers and families who require it, to be eligible for support person – a “super-mum” who can support new parents transition smoothly into a successful, happy, well-rounded family unit.
Super-mums will be experienced in child rearing from practical, hands-on experience of being a mother, managing a household and have had extra training to learn how to support new parents who are, for whatever reason, unsupported at this crucial time in their lives. This gives older mothers a chance to share their knowledge and wisdom, gain respect from their community, up-skill and earn money, and it gives new mums a chance to gradually build up confidence in their ability as a mother. Families will learn positive strategies for working with infants and babies, self-love and self-care (you can’t give to others what you can’t give to yourself), good nutrition and healthy shopping, housekeeping, budgeting, emotional support etc. (The NZ Outdoors Party will develop a curriculum for this purpose)
There would obviously be a need for ‘supervision’ and psychological support, both for the people receiving the “super-mum” support and those providing it.
Healthy Pregnancies Program – creating healthy future New Zealanders
The NZ Outdoors Party believes that all children deserve a healthy start in life. The Outdoors Party will support a comprehensive program to give women support to make the best decisions for their bodies and the health of their unborn babies and reduce stress and anxiety during pregnancy.
The Healthy Pregnancies Program will provide prenatal workshops for women who are trying to conceive or are in their first to third trimester, ensuring early inclusion in the program is achieved through collaboration with midwives and GP clinics.
The program will include healthy eating during pre conception and pregnancy, avoidance of toxins and other harmful substances, supplements to aid foetal development, mindfulness and mental health of mother, exercise during pregnancy, access to support networks, rights of the mother during maternity care and delivery, birthing and natural pain relief options, and early post natal care, relationship health during pregnancy and post delivery.
Research will be undertaken to ensure the best possible health for our mothers and babies, and ensure that pre and post natal medical interventions are achieving the best health outcomes.
The Healthy Pregnancies Program will be tailored for all communities throughout New Zealand and workshops will be co-ordinated and delivered at Integrated Health Hubs, maternity hospitals and health clinics throughout New Zealand as well as an online resource.
Foetal Alcohol (and Drug) Syndrome Awareness
The New Zealand Outdoors Party is aware that FAS is considered to be a leading preventable cause of intellectual and developmental problems.
Researchers estimate may FASD occur in 1 in 100 children in New Zealand. FASD is a lifelong condition that lasting impacts on a child, their family and society. The fact that FASD is preventable means that through good policy and initiatives we can reduce the number of children being born with this disorder and also we can support those children better who already are affected by it.
We want to see better education for doctors and medical staff to assist them to identify at an early age children with FASD or harm from maternal drug abuse.
We will develop a media campaign to educate New Zealanders on the impact of alcohol and/or drugs on the unborn child.
We want to ensure that schools can work with outside agencies to help appropriate diagnosis and support for children with FASD/maternal drug use for the benefit of the child.
Maori Health Care
Our policy is everyone deserves the best possible health care. We do not need separate health systems based on race if there is no prejudice in the system and patient’s beliefs are respected and health alternatives are available to everyone.
Can we improve accountability in medicine?
The New Zealand Outdoors Party recognises the Health Quality & Safety Commission efforts in reporting and reducing harm from medical error, but believes that we need to do much more to protect patients from over-prescribing, incorrect prescribing, inappropriate intervention, delayed medical care, preventable and/or repetitive errors etc. Medical professionals that show signs of incompetence should be removed from their role immediately and undergo retraining to be able to continue in that field.
The Outdoors Party will direct the Centre for Adverse Reaction Monitoring (CARM – the centre that monitors drug reactions in New Zealand) to be highly proactive in reporting the adverse effects and interactions of medications. This will enable CARM to initiate immediate actions to protect the health of our people.
Update funding for Midwives
In recognition of the valuable work and high level of responsibility, as well as the long and arduous hours required of the profession The Outdoors Party considers midwives should have immediate increased pay rates and improved working conditions. This will also encourage young people into the profession and reduce the attrition rate due to burn out and inadequate compensation for long hours. The Outdoors Party calls for:
1) Review of section 88 and all modules to assess sustainability and safety for midwives, mothers and babies.
2) Increase pay rates for LMC’s, pay an “on call allowance”, and payment for travel based on mileage. Subsequent births should have the same pay rate as a first birth.
3) Midwives to be able to charge for each extra visit on top of their allocated number, to allow for increased pre and postnatal requirements.
4) Initial consultation payment be in line with the GP’s initial consultation payment and be paid immediately.
5) The DHB shall claim for primary births the same as a primary care facility or midwife. As primary maternity funding in hospitals is often used for functions other than maternity, those funds will instead be used to better support LMC’s and primary birth care facilities.
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.”
Copyright and policy team acknowledgements.
This policy and associated papers are copyright. April 2020. NZ Outdoors Party.
This policy is the work or a number of people and specialists in the team namely: Tracy Livingston (B.App Sc. Osteopathy and team leader), Heidi Jensen-Warren, Anna King (B.App Sc. Osteopathy)