Hauora


Aotearoa Youth Declaration is an annual conference for High School Students which connects young people with government policy. Participants work in Focus Groups to develop policy statements that represent their views and priorities on a range of subjects. The statements below were drafted by the participants of the Hauora Focus Group, and approved by the participants at the Conference.

8.1 We believe the Government should take a holistic approach to hauora, considering all aspects of te whare tapa wha model. This includes targeting the social determinants of health which have a profound impact on the health status of populations in Aotearoa, especially in relation to low socioeconomic and minority groups.
8.2 We recognise the increasing rates of mental health issues within Aotearoa across all demographics, which impacts the quality of life for individuals and families, and increases the risk of suicidality. We recommend:

  1. Increased promotion of mental health, especially amongst overrepresented populations. This includes education within schools, as well as partnering with local iwi and hapu in the creation of self-care strategies;
  2. Encouraging realistic and healthy hours, pay, and a psychological support system for our health professionals; and
  3. Extended funding of safe mental health facilities that provide fully subsidised professional support.

Not only does this enhance the mental health of New Zealanders in general, but it protects our health sector workforce in providing quality patient care.

8.3 We believe that abortion being part of the Crimes Act 1961 compromises the reproductive rights of women in New Zealand. We recommend that in order to support the autonomy that women have over their bodies:

  1. Abortion should be taken out of the Crimes Act 1961; and
  2. The criteria for getting an abortion should more readily take into account factors including, but not limited to, consideration of the socioeconomic status of the woman as a reason for seeking an abortion, effectively creating a more tailored approach to the specific situational circumstances and needs of each individual.

This will help to remove the social, financial, and personal harms of the current lack of accessibility to a safe procedure, as well the stigma around it.

8.4 Recognising the high rates of domestic violence within New Zealand, we advocate increasing:

  1. Awareness and education around domestic violence, including the statistical overrepresentation of Māori and Pacific Island groups; and
  2. Funding and promoting facilities which provide subsidised services, including professional counselling, group sessions and a safe environment to go to for support to strengthen communities through kotahitanga.

In consequence, the awareness around domestic violence and the importance of manaakitanga (support) is emphasised, whilst increasing the availability and accessibility of support for all.

8.5 We believe that New Zealand’s ranking as the third most obese country in the OECD is shaped by obesogenic environments, including increased accessibility to calorie-dense foods and decreased accessibility to exercise opportunities. We recommend:

  1. Implementation of a sugar tax on confectionery and excessively sugary and artificially sweetened drinks and foods, where money is redistributed to subsidising fruit and vegetables;
  2. Regulated standard for foods available in school canteens; and
  3. Funding sporting bodies and communal physical recreational areas.

The combination of more affordable healthier food options, decreased accessibility of unhealthy food in schools and promotion of fitness opportunities will provide a holistic approach to decreasing rates of obesity.

8.6 The socioeconomic status of individuals is not always accurately represented by neighbourhood area deprivation (NZDep). The current system of subsidising primary care (for example, GP appointments) according to area deprivation disadvantages particular individuals. In order to reduce the financial barriers around access, we recommend that patients are charged for primary care services proportionately to their income, where the lowest income individuals are provided with free care. This makes access to health services more equitable to protect the most vulnerable individuals in society.
8.7 We believe that New Zealand’s ranking as the third most obese country in the OECD is shaped by obesogenic environments, including increased accessibility to calorie-dense foods and decreased accessibility to exercise opportunities. We recommend:

  1. A realistic and healthy education surrounding the practicalities of sex and contraception;
  2. In-depth education surrounding consent, including within diverse relationships;
  3. Combating the unhealthy stereotypes promoted through the porn industry; and
  4. Funding for external sexual health organisations to deliver this curriculum.

The combination of more affordable healthier food options, decreased accessibility of unhealthy food in schools and promotion of fitness opportunities will provide a holistic approach to decreasing rates of obesity.

The Hauora Focus Group are gathered on the stairs of the University campus.

An enormous thanks to the Focus Group participants, the Facilitators – Day and Michael, the Conference Organising Committee, and the Event Sponsors.