30 Oct 2008

Greens want causes of ill-health tackled

6:09 pm on 30 October 2008

The Green Party is calling for a dramatic change in the health system with a much greater focus on prevention of illness.

Launching its preventative health plan on Thursday, the party said the country needed to move away from a system that deals only with people who are unwell rather than the root causes of ill health - such as poor diet, poverty and cold, damp houses.

Health spokesperson Sue Kedgley said at least $3 billion is spent on treating preventable illnesses, placing a massive burden on the country's health system.

The party wants funding for preventative health increased to at least 10% of the health budget.

Other proposals include free annual wellness checks for all New Zealanders, improved access to free dental care for young people and a levy on soft drinks to pay for increased dental services.