22 June 2011 MEDIA STATEMENT
Labour welcomes focus on dental health
A comprehensive plan for dental health released today by Progressive Leader Jim Anderton is a useful tool in improving
the dental health of New Zealanders, Labour’s Health Spokesperson Grant Robertson says.
“Improved dental health is vital to improving the overall health and well-being of New Zealanders. Major health issues
such as obesity and diabetes are closely linked to dental health problems.
“We know many New Zealanders are not receiving the dental care they need, with the most recent nationwide survey showing
that 44 per cent are not receiving any at all. This represents a major future risk both in terms of health status, but
also in costs to individuals and the taxpayer.” Grant Robertson said.
“The National government’s removal of oral health care as a priority target has seen a dangerous reduction in focus on
dental health outcomes.
“The last Labour government made good progress in ensuring that children have access to quality dental health services.
It is vital that this is continued, and further developed to encompass teenagers as well.
“While free dental care is meant to be available to everyone up to the age of 18, there are still people missing out.
Recent research at Linwood College in Christchurch showed around a third of pupils had untreated dental health
“A good oral health plan that focuses on prevention and service will be a high priority for a future Labour-led
Government. We will look closely at Jim Anderton’s proposal in terms of the pace and extent at which it can be
implemented, and as resources allow,” Grant Robertson said.