Public Health Expert

Updating the role of the state: the case of housing in New Zealand

Public Health Expert Feb 17, 2020

Prof Philippa Howden-Chapman Housing policy is building up to be the key election issue again. In this blog I reflect on the importance of the role of the New Zealand Government in improving access to affordable housing. I look at what the Government has been doing to increase quality public housing and to reduce homelessness and why the public housing waiting … Read More

Getting Through Together: Ethical Values for a Pandemic

Public Health Expert Feb 14, 2020

Ruth Cunningham, Charlotte Paul, Andrew Moore Public health responses to infectious diseases such as COVID-19 require us to draw on our common humanity and be explicit about our values. Recognising this will help us make good decisions in difficult situations so that, for example, the need to impose restrictive measures and to protect ourselves does not conflict with fairness, respect, … Read More

NZ Should Prepare for a Potentially Severe Global Coronavirus Pandemic

Public Health Expert Feb 10, 2020

Prof Nick Wilson, Prof Michael Baker In this blog we briefly summarise our assessment of the highly uncertain new coronavirus threat. Given its potential to become a severe and prolonged global pandemic, a precautionary response now means activating all components of our pandemic plan, with a particular focus on ‘keep it out’. NZ has many natural and institutional advantages in … Read More

A preventable measles epidemic: Lessons for reforming public health in NZ

Public Health Expert Feb 05, 2020

Prof Michael Baker, Prof Nick Wilson, Louise Delany, Prof Richard Edwards, Prof Philippa Howden-Chapman The current national measles epidemic in New Zealand is amongst the largest we have experienced in the last 40 years. It can be linked to the problems created by long-term erosion and fragmentation of national public health capacity. Fortunately, the present Health and Disability System Review … Read More

Tobacco Excise Taxes and the Smokefree 2025 Goal: Some Ways Forward

Public Health Expert Jan 16, 2020

Janet Hoek, Richard Edwards, George Thomson, Andrew Waa, Nick Wilson Debate over tobacco tax increases has intensified as research indicates potentially conflicting policy directions. On the one hand, excise tax increases continue to stimulate quit attempts among smokers yet, on the other hand, they may lead to financial hardship for some smokers and increase retail crime. In this blog, we … Read More

Ten things we can learn from new smoking and vaping data about progress to Smokefree Aotearoa 2025

Public Health Expert Dec 17, 2019

Richard Edwards, Janet Hoek, Nick Wilson, Andrew Waa [All from Department of Public Heath, University of Otago, Wellington] New NZ Health Survey data show some encouraging recent reductions in smoking prevalence. However, progress remains inadequate to achieve the Smokefree Aotearoa 2025 goal and the government needs to take urgent action, particularly to reduce marked disparities for Māori and Pacific peoples. Read More

Is Youth Vaping a Problem in New Zealand?

Public Health Expert Dec 02, 2019

Professors Janet Hoek and Richard Edwards, Emeritus Professor Phil Gendall, Jude Ball, Dr Judith McCool, Anaru Waa, Dr Becky Freeman Recent media reports have presented conflicting evidence on youth vaping in NZ. While some NZ school principals report concerns about increasing vaping on school grounds and confiscating vapes, ASH Year 10 survey data have been interpreted as suggesting few young … Read More

New Zealand’s Poor Pandemic Preparedness According to the Global Health Security Index

Public Health Expert Nov 11, 2019

Dr Matt Boyd, Prof Michael Baker, Prof Nick Wilson The Global Health Security Index which considers pandemic threats has just been published. Unfortunately, NZ scores approximately half marks (54/100), coming in 35th in the world rankings – far behind Australia. This poor result suggests that the NZ Government needs to act promptly to upgrade the country’s defences against pandemic threats. Read More

Retailing of vaping products – New NZ Research

Public Health Expert Nov 07, 2019

Dr Lindsay Robertson, Dr Jerram Bateman, Professor Janet Hoek Members of the public health community hold divergent views on how access to vaping products or electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) products should be arranged. Some believe ENDS should be as widely available as smoked tobacco and argue for liberal access. However, others suggest smoked tobacco should be much less … Read More

“Action for Healthy Waterways”: Some big ticket actions that the Government has neglected

Public Health Expert Oct 31, 2019

Prof Nick Wilson, A/Prof George Thomson, A/Prof Simon Hales, Prof Michael Baker The NZ Ministry for the Environment has produced a valuable discussion document with many good ideas for improving the health of waterways in New Zealand. But there are important gaps. In this blog we consider three big-ticket items to include in an integrated strategy to improve our waterways: … Read More