The Covid Response has shown us that simply focusing on medical issues fails to fully address what makes us healthy. Treading the current narrow path with a model that focuses on disease and pharmaceutical treatments, which fails to meet the wider public needs, is limited and outdated.
The Medicines Act 1981 legislates against alternative medicines and treatments when a person should have the right to choose their own healthcare. We will restore that right. The Medicines Health Act 1981 is out of date and requires modification. Advance NZ considers it requires urgent review and clarification in areas that cover the assessment, treatment and rights of people with a mental health disorder.
Advance NZ aims to promote true wellness —hauora — within New Zealand, to improve quality of life, and reduce the need for medical intervention.
Our party’s health policies are based on the holistic view of health, taking into account the four main cornerstones of well-being: Physical, Mental, Family and Spiritual. This Te Whare Tapa Whā model, developed by Mason Durie, is already promoted by the Ministry of Health, but not followed by our medical or legal systems.
Policy in Brief
- Enable alternative treatment for Covid-19.
- Restore personal sovereignty to patients, enabling informed choice in treatments.
- Introduce a regulatory system based on an holistic approach to health and wellbeing.
- Repeal and replace the Dietary Supplements Regulation 1985 legislation.
- Repeal and replace the Mental Health (Compulsory Assessment and Treatment) Act 1992.
- Remove GST on Doctor’s visits and subsidise the visits of at-risk groups.
- Transform the methods and mechanisms of ACC.
- Enshrine the right to choose and refuse medical treatment.
- Free Dental Care for all.
- Fully fund the ambulance service.
- Investigate and address the level of involvement and role of pharmaceutical companies in Medsafe, local GP and ACC.
- Ensure legislation is in place to hold vaccine manufacturers accountable.
- Restore the rights of families to choose what happens in the healthcare of their children.
- Promote the Te Whare Tapa Whā model of health.
- Review the Medicines Act 1981.
- Reduce exposure to environmental toxins by adopting a chemical pesticides reduction programme and by examining our food additives and environmental contaminants.
- Acknowledge that diet is the primary cause of society’s chronic health issues.
- Overhaul the failing Health Star Rating food labelling system.
- Roll out community-led palliative and respite care programmes nationally for those with life threatening illness.
Despite universal access to medicine, chronic disease is still on the rise in New Zealand. Conventional medicine holds some of the answers, but is not able to provide the full spectrum of treatments that have become available over the last few decades. Modern allopathic medicine primarily relies on the diagnosis of disease and the subsequent use of medication or surgery. It is focused on the ailment, but not the cause of that ailment.
Advance NZ aims to broaden the doctrine of the current Health Policy to include true informed consent and discussions for healthcare that exists outside that of the restrictive allopathic model. Informed consent should exist across all scientifically based options for treatment that remain essential to a patient's wellbeing.
Advance NZ proposes to improve our healthcare system through a holistic approach including to:
Enable alternative treatment options for Covid-19
We will follow the growing body of international research showing that prompt treatment with existing antiviral medications can mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and its consequential morbidity and mortality. We will require Medsafe to investigate—and enable the use of—potentially useful and proven prophylactic and alternative treatments, and ensure widespread availability of the same. We will urgently conduct an independent investigation into the use of early, low-dose hydroxychloroquine in combination with zinc as both a prophylactic and treatment for COVID-19.
Restore personal sovereignty to patients, enabling informed choice in treatments.
Natural and holistic medicine needs to be on the same level as allopathic medicine. There must be freedom to choose one’s primary care provider; whether that be a chiropractor, osteopath, naturopath or acupuncturist, instead of a GP. Natural practitioners and natural medicines need to be subsidised in the same manner as pharmaceuticals are. Subsidising allied health services and preventive health services at the same level as pharmaceuticals. Voluntary vaccination means that parents and adults shall have the right of choice over vaccinations and the public needs access to scientific data and opinion instead of policy-based evidence influenced by pharmaceutical interests.
Introduce a principle based regulatory system
Principles come before rules. Support for innovation shall be proportional to the seriousness and incidence of a disease, and the need for treatment. The principle of informed choice overrides current ‘harm by omission’ rules that prevent alternative therapies. People have a right to choose treatments.
Replace the Dietary Supplements Regulation 1985 legislation
We will replace this legislation with legislation that exclusively regulates health supplements as products distinct from food or medicine. We will remove restrictions around the provision of natural health care products, which are a breach of Te Tiriti provisions around Rongoa Māori.
Replace the Mental Health Act
We will replace the Mental Health Act with one that fully recognizes our human rights and is aligned with the Te Whare Tapa Whā model, aligning with concepts of social, spiritual and physical wellbeing, and engaging the support, consent, and needs of family and significant others whenever possible.
We will support this change by enabling mental health advocacy groups, experienced individuals and others to engage in a national discussion around the beliefs, attitudes, risks and best outcome around mental health, taking into account cultural understandings of wairua and spiritual emergence.
Carry out a review of pharmaceutical drugs
We shall implement a review of pharmaceutical drugs commonly prescribed by medical doctors in New Zealand and what illnesses they are in fact creating. Review existing pharmaceutical medicines and eliminate drugs that cause more harm than good.
Remove GST on doctor’s visits and subsidise the visits of at-risk groups
Health is essential to life. As such, visits to doctors, or medical care itself should be exempt from extra taxation and accessible to all. We will remove GST from visits to clinics, completely subsidize visits for children and elders, and provide financial assistance for those in poverty.
Transform the methods and mechanisms of ACC
The New Zealand Crown entity, Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) is currently run in a very inequitable way. It is run as a ‘for-profit’ organization and only funds a very small range of treatments. People born with disabilities are excluded from help, whereas those who suffer the same disability through accidents get the care they need. We believe that funded care should be available for accidents and misdiagnosis consequences, medical mistakes and congenital conditions. Where a budget is available for treatment, the patient should be allowed to choose where that budget is allocated, removing the barriers that make it nearly impossible for alternative health treatments to be used.
Increase spending on infrastructure and staff
Hospitals have been grossly underfunded over the last 30-40 years, as the population has grown dramatically. Using the mechanisms put in place by our finance policy, AdvanceNZ will increase expenditure into these basic infrastructure areas as a priority. We need more beds; modern, safe and clean hospitals; and motivated and well paid staff to deliver health care.
Enshrine the rights choose and refuse medical treatment
As outlined in our Democracy policy, AdvanceNZ will build a constitution and enshrine on that, in a new Bill of Rights, the right to choose and refuse medical treatment. No medical intervention will ever be compulsory in our New Zealand. This is a fundamental human right, and we will defend it.
Make dental care free
Many New Zealanders avoid the dentists, through excessive costs. Advance NZ will begin a review of the dentistry sector in New Zealand, and provide funding for basic dental procedures for all citizens. Fluoride tablets will be free and available for any who wish to take them which removes the perceived need for mass dosing of the population via household water which has potential health consequences. The rights of the individual to decline medical treatment will be preserved by not allowing fluoridation of water supplies.
Overhaul of Health Star Rating System
New Zealand’s Health Star Rating system has caused controversy since its introduction in 2014. Year on year, the Star system has received criticism from experts in the health and nutrition fields. The best scientific evidence for healthy eating is based on consuming whole foods like fruit, vegetables, cereals, meat and dairy and avoiding highly processed foods, the kinds the Health Star Rating system is exclusively focused on. There is also wide criticism of who the Health Star Rating Advisory Committee (HSRAC) comprises, with only one dietitian, and majority of the others comprising representatives for the food industry. We will overhaul this system.
Reduce exposure to environmental toxins
Environmental toxins are a huge source of disease and ill health including, cancers, heart disease, dementia and mental health. Address and regulate chemicals allowed in our water, foods, cosmetics, skincare and cleaning products that cause disease.
Reduce toxic exposure via foods
Fresh foods and vegetables in New Zealand can contain as many as 35 different pesticides in one product. This means New Zealanders can be carrying a high level burden of heavy metals, mycotoxins, herbicides, pesticides and fungicides through their diet alone. We need to introduce education and a way forward with the understanding that foods like sugar and junk foods may cause long term harm.
We need to address the use of chemicals and additives in food production. We will encourage organic farming and organic food consumption; increase awareness and education around home production of spray-free foods, soil health and eating with the seasons for those who have more limited funds. Some of our schools are already taking part in growing food, but we will roll this out for all schools and promote the introduction of community gardens across New Zealand.
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