NZ Govt prefers taxing cigarettes over saving lives – while the NHS allows patients to vape

Source: Taxpayers Union – Press Release/Statement:

Headline: NZ Govt prefers taxing cigarettes over saving lives – while the NHS allows patients to vape

NZ Govt prefers taxing cigarettes over saving lives – while the UK lets patients vape

8 FEBRUARY 2018
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union says the UK’s approach to e-cigarettes shows how New Zealand is dragging the chain.
 
British government body Public Health England has conceded that e-cigarettes are at least 95% less harmful than smoking, and is advising the NHS to allow patients to vape in hospitals, and let doctors prescribe e-cigarettes.
 
Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director Jordan Williams says, “The contrast could not be more stark. While Britain is encouraging smokers admitted to hospital to switch to vaping, the New Zealand Government is so addicted to the revenue from cigarette taxes it hasn’t even legalised the sale of nicotine e-liquid.”
 
“The previous Government was making all the right noises around e-cigarettes, but the new Government has put progress on hold.”
 
Currently 2% of the government’s revenue is off the back of tobacco taxes – taxes that disproportionately affect those communities that can least afford it. In Britain e-cigarettes are the most common tool used by smokers to quit.

“It is obvious that legalising vaping and non-burn tobacco products would save lives,” says Williams. “Instead, the Government is too addicted to the tax revenue and prefers to keep smokers dying because it fills the treasury. It is a moral disgrace.”

ENDS
 
ENQUIRIES:
Louis Houlbrooke
021 950 191
 
NOTES TO EDITORS:

The New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union is an independent and membership-driven activist group, dedicated to being the voice for Kiwi taxpayers in the corridors of power.

The Taxpayers’ Union operates a 24 hour media line for comment on taxpayer issues. Representatives are available on (04) 282 0302.

High resolution images and logos are available on request or online at http://www.taxpayers.org.nz/resources

PM, don’t rob the regions to fund a trolley service

Source: National Party – Headline: PM, don’t rob the regions to fund a trolley service

A booming freight industry and increasingly heavy road use in the Bay of Plenty further prove the need for the Government to commit to building a safe and reliable roading network in the region, National’s Transport spokesperson Judith Collins says.

“By holding our annual two day Caucus in Tauranga this year, National MPs have been able to see first-hand what difference the opening of roads like the Tauranga Eastern Link have had on the region,” Ms Collins says.

“While the National Government committed to building the Tauranga to Hamilton section of the Waikato Expressway, as well as upgrading the Tauranga to Katikati link, the Labour Government is yet to front up on its plans for the region.

“The road upgrades in Tauranga must go ahead as planned to improve road safety and for the ongoing growth of the local economy. It is one of the most dangerous roads in New Zealand – as acknowledged recently by a local Mayor.

“The Tauranga Northern link had funding approved last year. The Labour-led Government needs to commit to the completion of this important road from Tauranga to Katikati.

“The Waikato expressway’s improvements as one of the first Roads of National Significance is doing immensely well and work must continue for its extension from Cambridge to the foot of the Kaimai Range and from Cambridge to Tirau,” Ms Collins says.

National recently launched petitions to four-lane the motorway from Tauranga to Katikati as well as to fund the extension of the Waikato Expressway from Cambridge to the foot of the Kaimai Range and from Cambridge to Tirau. 

“Let’s not rob the regions for a trolley service up Dominion Road, in the Prime Minister’s electorate,” Ms Collins says.

School-entry for over fives – feedback sought

Source: New Zealand Government

Headline: School-entry for over fives – feedback sought

Parents, whānau, teachers and education experts are invited to have their say on options for grouped (cohort) entry into schools for children aged five and over, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today.
 
“This government supports schools having the option of coordinating new starters in a group, or cohort, for their convenience and the benefit of their students – but we agree with the overwhelming advice of education experts that the age at which children start school should be five or over,” Mr Hipkins said.
 
“Therefore, we do not support the changes made last year by the previous government that allowed children to start school before they turn five, and we are proposing to remove that option.
 
“There was no evidence to support it and many submitters expressed concern at the time, but were ignored.
 
“The evidence is overwhelming that young kids are better off playing and learning outside a structured school environment, and even at age five, New Zealand already allows children to start school earlier than many other countries,
 
“The Ministry of Education is today starting consultation on two options, which will guide a change to the Education Act later this year so that schools wanting to offer grouped entry can only do so for children after they turn five.”
 
The options are:
 
Grouped (cohort) entry once per term, at the start of the term;
Grouped (cohort) entry twice per term, at the start of the term and at the term mid-point. The Ministry of Education is also interested in hearing whether submitters think that schools should have the ability to choose between either of these options if they choose to introduce grouped entry.   
Schools will also be able to continue with continuous entry if they chose to.
 
Mr Hipkins said so far just under 50 schools have adopted a grouped entry policy that allows them to start new entrants before their fifth birthday.
 
These schools would still be able to continue with this policy until the legislation is changed, when they would need to consult with their communities to decide whether to adopt the new model of cohort entry or whether to return to continuous entry.
                                                                                                              
The Ministry of Education will run the consultation from today until Monday 19 March. Anyone interested in taking part can make a submission, details are available at www.education.govt.nz/consultation-on-options-for-cohort-entry

Bill clears the way for education changes

Source: New Zealand Government

Headline: Bill clears the way for education changes

The new Government has taken further steps to restore democracy in and strengthen our public education system with the introduction of legislation changes today, Education Minister Chris Hipkins says.   
 
“The Education Amendment Bill restores guaranteed places for staff and student representatives on Tertiary Education Institution councils. This means that all universities, polytechnics and wānanga will be required to have staff and student representatives as full members of their councils.
 
“These changes recognise the important perspective staff and students bring to the governance of our tertiary institutions.
 
“The Bill also ends the previous government’s failed national standards and charter schools experiments.  
 
“Both National Standards and charter schools were driven by ideology rather than evidence. Both were rejected by the vast majority of the education sector. The Government’s strong view is that there is no place for them in the New Zealand education system.
 
“Removing National Standards frees up schools to focus more on progress in subjects wider than just literacy and numeracy, to better prepare students for school and life.
 
“The Bill repeals legislation that allows for future charter schools.
 
“It also includes provision for existing charter schools to operate under their contracts while the Ministry discusses possible options, including in the state system, on a case-by-case basis.
 
“My preferred option is to explore early termination of contracts by mutual agreement.   Operators wanting to be involved in education can apply to me to establish another form of school, such as a designated character school. As part of this process, applications would need to meet the relevant requirements.
 
“If however, early termination is not agreed by both parties, I am reserving my right to issue a notice of ‘termination for convenience’, under charter schools’ existing contracts, by the middle of May 2018. This would take effect at the end of the school year.” 
 
The Bill also:
 
Adds further protections to the fees-free tertiary education policy by introducing an offence for those who make a false representation about their eligibility for this policy, and
Changes the timeframe for school boards to develop their strategic plans to three years from four. 
 
Cabinet papers providing advice on the Education Amendment Bill and the charter school removal process can be found at http://www.education.govt.nz/ministry-of-education/information-releases/education-amendment-bill-2018-information-release/
 
The Bill is here: https://www.parliament.nz/en/pb/bills-and-laws/bills-proposed-laws/

Call for posters for BMJ Melbourne 2018 forum

Source: Health Quality and Safety Commission – Press Release/Statement:

Headline: Call for posters for BMJ Melbourne 2018 forum

Poster display at the BMJ forum in Kuala Lumpur (2017)

Individuals and teams are now able to submit their poster ideas for the BMJ International Forum on Quality & Safety in Healthcare in Melbourne, Australia. The forum will be held between 10-12 September 2018, and deadline for poster submissions is 25 April 2018.

Now in its 23rd year, the forum is a biannual gathering of healthcare professionals in quality improvement and patient safety. It supports and energises the movement for healthcare improvement and connects healthcare leaders and practitioners worldwide to improve outcomes for patients and communities.

The poster displays show a wide range of improvement and safety projects and are available onsite for all attendees to view and learn from. The displays are a valuable opportunity to share improvement projects, strategies, experience and achievement, to help improve health care worldwide.

Poster displays offer the opportunity to have work included in the International Forum Conference Proceedings and to present work to delegates on the BMJ Poster Stage. Authors will be given the opportunity to deliver short presentations about their project and answer questions from the audience. These facilitated sessions will be open to all attendees.

For more information or to submit a poster, visit the BMJ Melbourne forum website.

Last updated 08/02/2018

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BMJ International Forum on Quality & Safety in Healthcare

Source: Health Quality and Safety Commission – Press Release/Statement:

Headline: BMJ International Forum on Quality & Safety in Healthcare

BMJ International Forum on Quality & Safety in Healthcare

  • Event start: 10 Sep 2018 9:00am
  • Event end: 12 Sep 2018 4:00pm
  • Location: Melbourne, Australia

The BMJ International Forum in the Asia Pacific region will take place at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre in Melbourne, Australia, between 10-12 September 2018.

Now in its 23rd year the BMJ International Forum on Quality and Safety in Healthcare is a biannual gathering of healthcare professionals in quality improvement and patient safety. The International Forum supports and energises the movement for healthcare improvement and connects healthcare leaders and practitioners worldwide to improve outcomes for patients and communities.

Click the links below for more information:

Last updated 08/02/2018

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Otago researchers uncover New Zealand’s first fossils preserved in amber

Source: University of Otago

Headline: Otago researchers uncover New Zealand’s first fossils preserved in amber

Thursday, 8 February 2018 11:45am
An image of a insect fossilized in amber. Photo: supplied. The discovery of fossil insects, nematodes and fungi preserved in amber from sites in Otago is shedding new light on New Zealand’s geological and biological history.University of Otago paleontologists Associate Professor Daphne Lee and Dr Uwe Kaulfuss, with Professor Alexander Schmidt of the University of Göttingen, co-led a team of international scientists in collecting and analyzing amber deposits from more than 30 sites throughout New Zealand. Associate Professor Daphne Lee. The small and fragile fossils are 25 to 15 million years old and include a number of spiders (including web remains with prey), tiny carnivores such as pseudoscorpions, diverse soil-dwelling mites, detritivores such as springtails, biting and gall midges, fungus gnats and chironomids, scale insects, parasitoid wasps, ants, beetles, and bark lice.“Some of the arthropods and fungi represent the first fossil records of their groups from the entire Southern Hemisphere,” Associate Professor Lee explains.Hundreds of kilograms of amber were extracted from lignite deposits, largely near Roxburgh, Hyde and Pomahaka, in Otago. Preparation of the commonly opaque, and often brittle and/or fractured amber to expose inclusions for study is challenging. However, new techniques developed in Professor Schmidt’s laboratory in Germany revealed numerous fossils with 3D preservation.The amber derives from the ancestors of the kauri, resin-producing conifers belonging to the Araucariaceae family which still live today in northern New Zealand.“This means that the source of the resin has remained unchanged for at least the past 25 million years. The amber fossils help in understanding the evolution of these long-lasting forest ecosystems on a geologic time scale,” Associate Professor Lee adds.Amber, fossilized tree resin, preserves life forms, providing access to delicate organisms that are otherwise rare or absent from the fossil record.Amber deposits are concentrated in the Northern Hemisphere where their inclusions have been studied intensively. Until now, the scarcity of major deposits from the Southern Hemisphere has severely hampered understanding of the global evolutionary history of terrestrial invertebrate and fungal biotas.Dr Kaulfuss says the fossils are significant because of what they tell us about the country’s ecological history, as a long-isolated former Gondwanan landmass.“These fossils are really important for us because they provide a very rare opportunity to look back on what made up New Zealand’s forest and ecosystem 25 million-years-ago.“We now know what kind of animals and plants were around at that time and what has gone extinct since then.’’The Marsden-funded study which involved 27 researchers from 16 institutions in eight countries was published online this week in the journal Gondwana Research.Interview with Dr Kaulfuss – Amber deposits.mp4 Publication details: Amber inclusions from New ZealandAlexander R. Schmidt, Uwe Kaulfuss, Jennifer M. Bannister, Viktor Baranov, Christina Beimforde, Natalie Bleile, Art Borkent, Ariane Busch, John G. Conran, Michael S. Engel, Mark Harvey, Elizabeth M. Kennedy, Peter Kerr, Elina Kettunen, Anna Philie Kiecksee, Franziska Lengeling, Jon K. Lindqvist, Mark Maraun, Dallas C. Mildenhall, Vincent Perrichot, Jouko Rikkinen, Eva-Maria Sadowski, Leyla J. Seyfullah, Frauke Stebner, Jacek Szwedo, Philipp Ulbrich, Daphne E. Lee.For more information, please contact: Associate Professor Daphne LeeDepartment of GeologyUniversity of OtagoPhone: +64 3 467 9303Email: daphne.lee@otago.ac.nz A list of Otago experts available for media comment is available elsewhere on this website. Electronic addresses (including email accounts, instant messaging services, or telephone accounts) published on this page are for the sole purpose of contact with the individuals concerned, in their capacity as officers, employees or students of the University of Otago, or their respective organisation. Publication of any such electronic address is not to be taken as consent to receive unsolicited commercial electronic messages by the address holder.

Witnesses sought for road rage incident in Ararimu, Counties Manukau

Source: New Zealand Police –

Headline: Witnesses sought for road rage incident in Ararimu, Counties Manukau

Thursday, 8 February 2018 – 11:25am

Please attribute to Detective Liana Watson, Counties Manukau Police.

Police would like to hear from anyone who may have witnessed a road rage incident in Ararimu, Counties Manukau.

The incident occurred at the intersection of Turner and Dunn Roads and Ararimu Roads at approximately 9.30pm on Tuesday 6 February.

The victim was driving a blue Toyota Camry when he was attacked by a male who was driving another vehicle.

The victim received significant injuries and police would like to speak with the man in the other vehicle. 

If you have any information that could help our investigation, please contact Detective Liana Watson, from Counties Manukau Police on (09) 261 1321.
Alternatively, information can also be provided anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

ENDS

Monique Caddy/NZ Police

Switching to vaping not always straightforward: Otago research

Source: University of Otago

Headline: Switching to vaping not always straightforward: Otago research

Thursday, 8 February 2018 11:47am
Making the transition from cigarettes to vapes isn’t as easy as smokers would hope, new University of Otago research has found. Smokers attempting to quit the habit by vaping or using e-cigarettes do not always find the process plain sailing, according to new University of Otago research published in the international journal, Tobacco Control. The study, which involved in-depth interviews with 20 vapers who also smoked traditional cigarettes regulary, explored why some smokers did not make a full transition to vaping. Lead author, Dr Lindsay Robertson, a Research Fellow in the University of Otago’s Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, says the main reason this group of vapers did not stop smoking completely was a strong attachment to, and a sense of nostalgia for, what they described as “real” cigarettes. Lead author Dr Lindsay Robertson, University of Otago. “Many started their quit attempt expecting that vaping would offer them exactly the same experience as smoking. However, they often became disappointed when their experiences didn’t replicate smoking, and continued smoking as well as vaping.” One way of addressing this problem could involve managing smokers’ expectations more carefully. This includes ensuring smokers who want to switch to vaping receive good advice from well-trained retailers with specialist vaping knowledge, the researchers suggest. “Participants see specialist vape-shop staff as expert advisers; retailers of electronic nicotine delivery systems could help remind people of the importance of giving up entirely,” says Professor Janet Hoek, who leads the Health Research Council-funded research project.“This advice could be very important because some participants thought having cut down the number of cigarettes they smoked was a successful outcome, and so stopped trying to stop smoking completely.” Professor Hoek highlights a UK study published in the British Medical Journal last week that showed smoking only one cigarette per day carries a much greater risk of developing heart disease and stroke than previously expected: around half of the risk for people who smoke 20 per day. Professor Janet Hoek, Department of Public Health and Marketing. Other reasons study participants used both e-cigarettes and traditional cigarettes were to side-step legislation that has made tobacco less affordable and less convenient to use in public spaces, and to avoid feelings of stigma. Dr Robertson says whether participants vaped or smoked a cigarette often depended on the people around them, and some participants reported experiencing stigma towards vaping. Government legislation could help people make a full transition away from smoking to exclusive use of e-cigarettes and vape devices, say the researchers. “We need to get the balance of regulation right, to ensure smokers who choose to quit by vaping receive the best support and advice possible, are not encouraged back towards smoking and, of course, to prevent harm to young people”, Professor Hoek says. The study, titled “Dual use of electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) and smoked tobacco: a qualitative analysis” was authored by Dr Robertson, Professor Hoek, Ms Mei-Ling Blank and Dr Rosalina Richards from the University of Otago’s research theme, ASPIRE 2025; Dr Pamela Ling from the University of California, San Francisco and Dr Lucy Popova from Georgia State University, both in the United States. This research was supported by the Health Research Council of New Zealand. ASPIRE2025Dual use of electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) and smoked tobacco: a qualitative analysis (PDF format,227KB) For more information, contact: Dr Lindsay RobertsonDepartment of Preventive and Social MedicineUniversity of OtagoEmail: l.robertson@otago.ac.nzTel: +64 3 479 7177 Professor Janet HoekDepartments of Public Health and MarketingUniversity of OtagoEmail: janet.hoek@otago.ac.nzTel: +64 3 479 7692 Liane Topham-KindleySenior Communications AdviserUniversity of OtagoEmail: liane.topham-kindley@otago.ac.nzTel: +64 3 479 9065 A list of Otago experts available for media comment is available elsewhere on this website. Electronic addresses (including email accounts, instant messaging services, or telephone accounts) published on this page are for the sole purpose of contact with the individuals concerned, in their capacity as officers, employees or students of the University of Otago, or their respective organisation. Publication of any such electronic address is not to be taken as consent to receive unsolicited commercial electronic messages by the address holder.

Investigations

Source: Tertiary Education Commission

Headline: Investigations

The Tertiary Education Commission (the TEC) has a range of powers, under the Education Act 1989 and funding conditions, to conduct investigations ensuring the Government’s investment in tertiary education is used properly.We begin an investigation of a tertiary education organisation (TEO) if we are concerned about practices or behaviours which may put student interests or government funding at risk.TEO investigation guidelinesOur monitoring system is designed to ensure both the burden on TEOs and the level of TEC effort is proportionate to the level of risk. This means investigations vary in size and complexity depending on our concerns, the size of the TEO, and a range of other factors.All monitoring activities (including investigations) are undertaken in accordance with our monitoring principles, which are included in the investigation guidelines below. These also include guidance on how we undertake investigations, the processes we follow, and how we deal with information supplied by TEOs under investigation.The Tertiary Education Commission investigation guidelines (PDF, 342 Kb) Outcomes of investigationsWe generally publish investigation outcomes as part of a transparent, consistent approach to monitoring. This helps provide assurance that public funds are being well managed. Publication of investigation findings is also a key way we share learnings from monitoring activities with the sector, and helps other TEOs improve their performance and compliance.The TEC has the discretion to not publish an investigation report or outcomes. Any such decision is made with reference to the provisions of the Official Information Act. For example, where there are no material findings, or issues identified are only minor, publishing the fact of an investigation may reduce public confidence in a TEO at a level disproportionate to the issues investigated. In such cases, the TEC would seek to share any valuable learnings from the investigation with the sector in another way, including through regular monitoring updates.When investigation reports or outcomes are finalised and able to be made public, they are published below.

BEST Pacific Institute of Education

Quantum Education GroupEnterpriseMITCollege of Natural Health and Homeopathy ReviewsFrom 2014-2017, the TEC also conducted ‘reviews’ of smaller or less complex issues at TEOs. The TEC has updated its approach, and only conducts audits and investigations of TEOs. Historic reviews are now considered investigations.

Lincoln University’s Telford DivisionNew Zealand School of Outdoor StudiesReviewsFrom 2014-2017, the TEC also conducted ‘reviews’ of smaller or less complex issues at TEOs. The TEC has updated its approach, and only conducts audits and investigations of TEOs. Historic reviews are now considered investigations.

Manaakitanga Aotearoa Charitable TrustAgribusiness Training Ltd Tectra LimitedTaratahi Agricultural Training Centre

Te Whare Wanānga o AwanuiārangiWestern Institute of Technology at Taranaki (WITT)

From 2014-2017, the TEC also conducted ‘reviews’ of smaller or less complex issues at TEOs. The TEC has updated its approach, and only conducts audits and investigations of TEOs. Historic reviews are now considered investigations.The six reviews below focused on TEOs that offered programmes with similar features to those found in two previous investigations at Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi and WITT. We undertook the reviews to determine whether the issues found in the two investigations were prevalent across the sector. This was found not to be the case.*Note: The TEC accepted the findings from an independent report commissioned by Service IQ.