• Wyatt Creech
International Trade

The new Minister of Health Wyatt Creech said he would be working hard to deliver better services for more people this year, in line with the programme for a healthier New Zealand identified by the Prime Minister today.

"Since taking over the health portfolio I have been exposed to a lot of the strong progress already being made to get better health services.

"New hospitals for Auckland and Wellington and better buildings in hospitals in Nelson, Palmerston North, New Plymouth and Tauranga are on track for decisions or construction this year. In Auckland investment in excess of $200 million is involved.

"In another step towards the decision on a new hospital for Auckland I will visit Auckland Healthcare's hospitals on Thursday for a fact finding tour of existing services.

"The Child Health Strategy will see further investment to improve the health of our children. A $13 million package has been announced to get extra help to children who in the past were missing out on health services.

"This week I will meet members of the National Health Committee, which is carrying out the maternity services review, to finalise the review's terms of reference and work plan so the team can get out there and talk to women about their views on the maternity care they have received.

"The review is an important part of ensuring New Zealanders actually experience better health services.

"In addition, we are extending our provision of free flu vaccinations. We have been providing the injections to people over 65 since 1997. From this year any New Zealander with a chronic health condition such as diabetes, an auto-immune disease, chronic renal failure or cardiovascular disease, can get free flu injections.

"In my new role as Health Minister I will be spearheading further work this year to target care where it is needed and to prevent illness," Mr Creech said.