Weekender July 2015

Columns
Monday, July 6, 2015

It’s really important that our children get the best start in life and that means ensuring they are able to go to the doctor any time of the day or night without parents worrying about the cost.

July 1st saw the start of a new government funded policy making it possible for all children under 13 to have access to free doctor’s visits and prescriptions. As a parent myself, even though my own children are now well past the age of 13, I’m really pleased that this new initiative will provide further support for families.

Another important health initiative for families and all New Zealanders is to take up the chance to get vaccinated against flu. As we head into the depth of winter there is still time for people to get vaccinated before the worst of the flu season arrives. It takes up to two weeks to develop immunity, so it is best to be vaccinated before influenza spreads

Latest data shows there is some influenza activity which is normal for this time of year, but this is expected to increase in the coming weeks. There are some very nasty flu strains around. So my advice is simple… get vaccinated.

Here in the Western Bay and throughout the Coromandel electorate, we are big on volunteering.

In fact we are ranked number five for numbers of volunteers according to census figures. That equates to nearly 19% of the population aged 15 or over. We are also one of the most ‘mature’ electorates in New Zealand in terms of our age demographic.

One of the interesting facts to come out recently during National Volunteer Week is a report that notes the huge positive impact seniors have as volunteers.

By 2051, seniors will be contributing $35 billion in unpaid and voluntary work, up from around $8.5 billion in 2011.

Too often we hear our ageing population described as a burden. That attitude is objectionable and completely wrong.

Many of the volunteer organisations which help families and enrich our local community rely on senior’s dedication and commitment.

Nationally New Zealanders are amongst the most generous in the world when it comes to volunteering and helping others.

Please never hesitate to make contact with me if I can be of assistance with any matter. For an appointment you can phone my electorate office on 07 549-4312 email: mpcoromandel@parliament.govt.nz