The National Government's abject failure to address the health issues facing New Zealand has been starkly demonstrated by a survey in the NZ Medical Journal showing declining rates of breastfeeding, Labour Leader Helen Clark said.
"There has been evidence emerging over the last two years that breastfeeding rates are falling. Labour has repeatedly raised this issue in Parliament but the National Government has failed to act.
"One of the Government's health targets for the year 2000 is to have 75 percent of three month old babies fully breastfed. This target, like so may others, won't be met.
"National has set a target for breastfeeding which its policies have no hope of achieving. Meeting the targets will be a top priority for Labour.
"Breastfeeding promotes bonding between mother and baby and benefits the health of the baby by giving added protection against infection and allergy. But in a HFA survey, 25 percent of women felt they did not receive enough information about breastfeeding.
"Nothing is more important than giving our children the best possible start in life. National's neglect of primary health services is another reason why a change of government is desperately needed," Helen Clark said.