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On Tuesday 15 August, members of UCAN and supporters met on Parliament steps to hand over the Ucan Health Charter and Election statement UCAN Health Charter 2016 to Members of Parliament.
We were joined by supporters and by the fabulous, The Brass Razoo Band.
Muriel Tunoho spoke on behalf of living Wage Network Living Wage and Health Care Aotearoa HCA Healthcare: Home and Paul Barber then spoke from The Equality Network The Equality Network and The New Zealand Council of Catholic Social Service .
From left to right. Debbie UCAN, Lisa and baby Zac, Tick for kids,CPAG, Muriel, living wage, HCA, Paul Equality Network, NCCSS.
Grant Robertson, Finance Minister from the Labour Party,
Jan Logie, Spokesperson for Social Development from The Green Party both gave their commitment to support the UCAN Health Charter and make it a reality as did
Ria Bond, Health Spokesperson, NZ First
This is a positive result as we have 3 political parties that have committed to our Charter.
For more information Please visit our website at ucannz.org.nz
Great reportage from Virginia McMillian, Journalist from NZ Doctor magazine:
Virginia McMillan email@example.com Tuesday 15 August 2017, 3:31PM
Patients’ experiences living on low pay and in cold, overcrowded houses are too common, Hutt Union Community Health Service chair and Living Wage New Zealand committee member Muriel Tunoho says.
Both the organisations that Ms Tunoho serves have endorsed a Health Charter (see illustration) that proposes liveable incomes and homes as rights for all. The charter was today handed over to Labour MP Grant Robertson outside Parliament.
The charter, developed by the United Community Action Network, received the support of Mr Robertson and New Zealand First’s acting health spokesperson Ria Bond.
UCAN sees the charter as a founding document for health. Coordinator Debbie Leyland told the small gathering in the Parliament grounds it was a challenge by which to hold to account all MPs and political parties.
Ms Leyland says the typical waits of two months for mental healthcare (“if you’re lucky”) are not acceptable, and nor are the country’s high rates of suicide, homelessness and mental illness.
One tangible way to address poverty
Ms Tunoho says the living wage is one tangible way to address poverty. The point was underscored by Paul Barber, NZ Council of Christian Social Services’ policy advisor, who said benefits were too low and beneficiaries’ health suffered the most.
“One of the best health treatments is to lift benefits and lift incomes for the lowest-income people. It’s the simplest treatment and it can be administered tomorrow if we want to,” Mr Barber said.
Instead, the Government was arrogantly paying down debt “with the anguish of the poor”.
Thirty-seven organisations belong to the Equality Network, which has endorsed the UCAN charter, he said.
More funded visits for children – NZ First
Ms Bond said her party wants to lift the funding for under-13s care to cover three visits a year, and to raise the age at least to 15.
Mr Robertson said equitable access to healthcare was a mark of a decent society.
Speaking for the Tick for Kids and the Child Poverty Action Group, Lisa Woods called on all political parties to ensure New Zealanders have the resources they need to thrive.
Child Poverty Action is a signatory to the charter, as are the Public Health Association, the public health department of the University of Otago, Wellington, the three Wellington union health clinics and the NZ Nurses Organisation, among others.
NZNO president Grant Brookes says the organisation welcomes the charter, “a refresh of the original primary healthcare vision”, and its focus on population health and eliminating disparities.
United Community Action Network (UCAN) press release
For immediate release
Monday 14 August at 7am
Health charter to be delivered to parliament
The United Community Action Network (UCAN) will deliver it’s health charter to parliament tomorrow, Tuesday 14 August at 1230pm on parliament grounds.
The College of Nurses, low-cost health providers, The Equality and Living Wage Networks and the Public Health Association Wellington branch are some of the groups who have signed the charter.
The charter calls for the right to: health care, a living income, a safe and healthy home, the ability to take party in society, a safe environment and an education.
UCAN is a national grassroots health rights organisation based in Wellington.
The group’s spokesperson, Debbie Leyland, says the growing gap between rich and poor sits next to health under funding as the country’s biggest health concerns.
“More and more people are being denied health care because they can’t afford it,” she says. “Poor housing, homelessness and low wages and benefits are as big a health problem as our growing waiting lists and number of people who need surgery but can’t get on a list.”
New Zealand has enough wealth to provide for all citizens but wealth is “poorly distributed”, she says.
“The provision of basic rights for all citizens just isn’t a priority.”
Leyland is calling on all political parties to support the charter.
Labour party finance spokesperson, Grant Robertson, Green Party social development spokesperson Jan Logie will speak at the presentation alongside representatives from Child Poverty Action Group, The Equality Network and The Living Wage Network.
UCAN has organized a gathering at Parliament steps on Tuesday 15 August, at 12.30, to present the aspirational Health Charter to elected MPs.
Members of UCAN will be presenting the UCAN Health Charter and the UCAN Election statement to members of parliament on the steps of the beehive to Labour MP Grant Robertson and Green MP Jan Logie.
We will then hear from Jan Logie and Grant Robertson on their acceptance of the UCAN Health Charter and statement.
There will also be comment from The Equality Network and The Living Wage movement.
Please come and join us for this event
It is essential that the issue of reducing inequality remains forefront with an election breathing down our necks. Any inaction on concrete and committed longterm planning to reduce inequalities will continue to have long-reaching impacts for those who live in the harshest of conditions in Aotearoa.
It is essential to keep the pressure up.
Image: Screenshot of Radio NZ page