Health – Management of end-of-life care

Source: Health and Disability Commissioner
Deputy Health and Disability Commissioner Rose Wall today released a report finding Heritage Lifecare Limited and one of its staff in breach of the Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers’ Rights (the Code) for failures relating to the palliative care provided to a rest home resident.
The man required hospital-level care and was admitted to the rest home for palliative care. He was admitted with wounds on his legs but his dressings were changed infrequently, he reported pain during dressing changes, and experienced three falls. During his time at the rest home he became increasingly unwell. He lost weight and this was not monitored by staff. He was not offered regular showers, his room was found to be dirty, and maggots were found on his toes. There were delays in arranging reviews by a GP and podiatrist. In his final days at the rest home, his family raised concerns that his condition had deteriorated, and made a formal complaint, but there was no review or adequate response by senior staff.
Ms Wall said basic care the man should have received was lacking.
"[The man] was for end-of-life care, with significant co-morbidities, and it was unacceptable that he suffered unnecessarily in his last months. His family had stressed to staff their wish that he be comfortable in his final days… [He] should not have had to rely on his family to advocate on his behalf for such a fundamental component of his end-of-life care," Ms Wall said.
She said the case highlighted the need to ensure that palliative care is appropriately planned to meet a person’s end-of-life care needs. She considered that the number of failings by the rest home and its staff pointed to an environment that did not sufficiently assist staff to do what was required of them and found the rest home in breach of the Code.
Ms Wall was critical that the rest home’s clinical services manager did not provide appropriate oversight of the nursing documentation and care planning, and was concerned that she did not comply with the complaints policy, and accordingly also found her in breach of the Code.
Ms Wall recommended that the Nursing Council of New Zealand carry out a competence review of the manager, and that she apologise to the man’s family. Ms Wall further recommended that the rest home owner report back to HDC on the implementation of its own action plan developed in light of this case; audit its compliance with protocols and review its palliative care policies; use this report as a basis for staff training and learning; and provide a formal written apology to the family.
The full report for case 18HDC00700 is available on the HDC website.

Health – Terminally ill woman dispensed incorrect amount of pain medication

Source: Health and Disability Commissioner
Deputy Health and Disability Commissioner Kevin Allan today released a report finding a pharmacist in breach of the Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers’ Rights (the Code) for making a number of errors, on different occasions, when dispensing a terminally ill woman’s pain medication.
The woman was taking the controlled drug fentanyl, a very strong pain relief medication, to manage the symptoms of her terminal illness. Her husband was her caregiver and collected the medication on her behalf.
On the first occasion, the pharmacist dispensed five fentanyl patches instead of the prescribed six. According to the prescription the woman should have received three patches initially, with a repeat of three more at a later date. The way the pharmacist dispensed the prescription resulted in the woman being supplied more than the accepted amount of 10 days’ supply at one time. It also resulted in her being deprived of the sixth patch, which would have constituted a further three days’ pain relief.
Subsequently, when presented with a prescription for five bottles of liquid fentanyl, the pharmacist only dispensed three due to concerns he had about the prescription. The pharmacist did not contact the prescribing doctor to raise these concerns, which would have been accepted practice. When dispensing a further prescription for fentanyl patches, the pharmacist supplied 14 patches to the woman’s husband which amounted to a 21 day supply of the medication. This was contrary to accepted practice and the pharmacy’s standard operating procedure at the time of the events.
Mr Allan was critical of the dispensing errors made by the pharmacist and stated that the pharmacist needed to comply with professional and legal obligations. Mr Allan noted that the pharmacist had apologised to the woman’s family and recommended that he undergo further training in relation to palliative care. He also recommended that the Pharmacy Council conduct a competency review of the pharmacist.
The full report for case 18HDC00536 is available on the HDC website.

Education – Research shows gaps in children’s career aspirations

Source: Tertiary Education Commission
A new report highlights work needed to broaden children’s career expectations, says Tertiary Education Commission Chief executive Tim Fowler.
The ‘Drawing the Future’ report was launched at Parliament last week.
It is based on contributions by 7,700 primary and intermediate students from around the country, who were asked to draw pictures showing the jobs they were interested in.
‘This is the first time such research has been done in New Zealand,’ says Tim Fowler.
‘It’s good to see that 48 percent of the children chose future jobs because they’d enjoy them.
‘And some of the reasons for their choices are heart-warming: the girl who wants to be a lawyer to help the innocent, or the boy who’d like to be a soldier so he can protect the people he loves.
‘On the other hand, the report confirms international findings which show that unconscious bias caused by a child’s race, gender and socio-economic status can have an early effect on career choice.’
Around two in ten New Zealand children aspire to a science, technology, engineering or maths-related career, but girls are one and a half times more likely to than boys.
Māori children are the most likely to aspire to be sportspeople, but are less likely to be interested in science and technology-related jobs; Pacific children are more than twice as likely as others to want to be police officers.
‘Such bias can affect the choices made later in life, such as subjects studied at secondary school and training or education pursued after graduation,’ says Tim Fowler.
‘This research offers us unique insight into what New Zealand children want to be when they grow up – and just as importantly, the career choices they haven’t even considered.
‘Tellingly, more than 50 percent of drawings for both boys and girls show just nine jobs: sportsperson – way ahead at almost 17 percent – vet, police officer, teacher, social media influencer, artist, doctor, military or firefighter, and farmer.
‘While these are important occupations, the results tell us that many of the critical skills that New Zealand needs for a productive economy are not evident.
‘Over half of New Zealand children aspire to a professional career, but only a quarter of people in the workforce are expected to be employed in those roles in 2028.
‘We need to engage children in a wider range of occupations – for example those related to science and technology – if New Zealand is to thrive, and future generations are to enjoy satisfying, lifelong careers.’
TEC is working on a number of initiatives to help broaden the horizons of tamariki so they can pursue jobs that are in demand now and in the future, says Tim Fowler.
‘The results of the Drawing the Future research will help design a new programme to overcome some of the children’s bias that often limit young people’s career aspirations.
‘Under the programme industry volunteers will visit schools to talk to learners about different career options and how to achieve them – we’re starting pilots in several schools around the country in the coming months.
‘I am very excited by this research, and by how we’ll be able to use it to create lifelong learning opportunities for New Zealanders.’

Activism – PSNA challenges Wellington City anti-Palestinian resolution disguised as an anti-semitism resolution

Source: Palestine Solidarity Network Aotearoa

On Saturday the Palestine Solidarity Network Aotearoa wrote to the Wellington City mayor and councillors urging them to withdraw a proposed resolution on anti-semitism which is scheduled to be discussed and voted on at this Wednesday’s council meeting.

This resolution is based on the hugely controversial International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance working definition of anti-semitism.

This definition is being used in many US states, US university campuses and some European countries to attack Palestinian human rights groups and condemn their actions as anti-semitic.

Even the main drafter of the original definition, Kenneth Stern, has said the definition is being misused around the world. He says it was intended as a guideline for researchers and its use in resolutions or legislation – such as the proposed Wellington City resolution – would “…restrict academic freedom and punish political speech”.

It’s clear the mayor and councillors had no idea the history or controversy around this issue. They should have been alerted by council staff but weren’t.

The promotors of this resolution were no doubt hoping it would slip through under the radar but we found out about it hopefully in time to stop its passage.

We want the resolution withdrawn and replaced by a comprehensive resolution which condemns anti-semitism as well as Islamophobia and white supremacism.

It would be far better for Wellington City to pass a comprehensive anti-racism resolution rather than have a divided vote on the proposed “anti-semitism” resolution.

We would welcome the opportunity to work with the New Zealand Jewish Council, Islamic associations and other minority groups to draft such a comprehensive resolution.

The letter we sent to the mayor and councillors is reproduced below.

John Minto
National Chair
Palestine Solidarity Network Aotearoa

22 February 2019

Andy Foster
Wellington City Council
cc Wellington City Councillors

Kia ora Mr Foster,

Re: Proposed resolution on antisemitism

I’m writing on behalf of the Palestine Solidarity Network Aotearoa which advocates for Palestinian human rights and which is also strongly opposed to racism in all its forms – including anti-semitism.

Our members have protested against racist spray-painting attacks on Jewish graves and synagogues just as we have marched in support of the Islamic community after the horrific events of March 15 last year.

However, there are serious problems with the proposed resolution and we are asking that it be withdrawn from the council agenda and replaced by a resolution which condemns all racism such as islamophobia and white supremacism as well as anti-semitism.

The problem with the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of anti-semitism, which is the focus of the proposed resolution, is its use in many US states and some European countries to claim Palestinian human rights activists are anti-semitic when they call for action against Israel until it complies with international law and United Nations resolutions. It is being used as a weapon to deny free speech and freedom of political action to those standing up for the victims of Israel’s brutal military occupation of Palestine and ongoing theft of Palestinian land.

The IHRA definition was always intended as a guideline for researchers, not as a prescription for a resolution or legislation. The main drafter of the resolution, Kenneth Stern, has cautioned against its use in resolutions or legislation and is quite emphatic that it must not be misused as is proposed in the Wellington City Council resolution.

Here is what he has to say on the IHRA Wikipedia page:

“The main drafter of the working definition and its examples, Kenneth S. Sterncautioned against the free speech implications of its use as a legal tool.[26] He has opposed efforts to enshrine it in legislation[98] and wrote a letter to members of the US Congress warning that giving the definition legal status would be "unconstitutional and unwise" in December 2016.[99] In 2011, he co-authored an article about how the 'Working Definition' was being abused in Title VI cases, because it was being employed in an attempt to "restrict academic freedom and punish political speech." In November 2017, Stern explained to the US House of Representatives that the definition has been abused on various US university campuses. He warned that it could "restrict academic freedom and punish political speech" and questioned whether definitions created by minority groups should be legislatively enshrined, giving as one of several examples.[26]

"Imagine a definition designed for Palestinians. If "Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, and denying Israel the right to exist" is antisemitism, then shouldn't "Denying the Palestinian people their right to self-determination, and denying Palestine the right to exist" be anti-Palestinianism? Would they then ask administrators to police and possibly punish campus events by pro-Israel groups who oppose the two state solution, or claim the Palestinian people are a myth?"[26]

He states that the definition was created "as a tool for data collectors in European countries to identify what to include and exclude from their reports about antisemitism, and to have a common frame of reference so that data might be compared across borders."[98] He "encouraged the Department of State's first Special Envoy for Antisemitism to promote the definition as an important tool." He used it effectively as the framework for a report on global antisemitism. He added: "approaches to antisemitism that endorse and promote academic freedom are more likely to work, in part because they underscore the academy's goal of increasing knowledge and promoting critical thinking…. approaches that explain academic freedom away or harm it will not only fail, they make the problem worse."[26]


We do not want the council to “make the problem worse” and pass a resolution which will be used to attack and demonise those who stand up for international law and United Nations resolutions and work hard for Palestinian human rights.

For example the City Council in Munich, Germany, has used the IHRA definition of anti-semitism to condemn Palestinian activists calling for BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) against Israel and have denied the use of city council facilities to Palestinian human rights organisations.

Palestinian activists here in Wellington have already faced attempts by pro-Israeli groups to deny them access to facilities for meetings and events and last year a local school faced a determined attempt to stop me speaking after I had been invited to do so with students at a lunchtime meeting using baseless claims that I was anti-semitic.


These pressures will increase dramatically if this resolution is passed as it is.


Meanwhile Jewish groups in New Zealand and around the world have spoken out strongly against the misuse of the IHRA definition and in 2018 over 40 Jewish groups expressed their support for BDS and attacked attempts to equate calls for boycotts of Israel with anti-semitism. 

An open letter from these Jewish groups said in part:


“As social justice organizations from around the world, we write this letter with growing alarm regarding the targeting of organizations that support Palestinian rights in general and the nonviolent Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, in particular. These attacks too often take the form of cynical and false accusations of antisemitism that dangerously conflate anti-Jewish racism with opposition to Israel’s policies and system of occupation and apartheid”


Similar sentiments have come from Nobel Peace Prize winner and South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu who says the world should call out Israeli policies towards Palestinians as “apartheid” and implement a boycott of Israel. New Zealand has a proud history of standing up in support of the struggle against South African apartheid and we must do the same against Israeli apartheid.


It is surprising that none of this deep concern and controversy about the misuse of the IHRA definition of anti-semitism was included in the council’s background paper on this resolution. It should have been.

It would be tragic if, on the back of the horrific events of March 15 last year, a resolution was passed by Wellington City Council which will be used to deny freedom of speech to members of the Islamic community in Wellington and New Zealand, some of whom are Palestinians, when they speak out against Israeli apartheid.


It would be a dark day for democracy, free speech and human rights if the resolution is passed as it currently stands. It would put the council on the wrong side of history.

We therefore respectfully request that the resolution be withdrawn. 


We would be very happy to work with the Jewish Council, the Islamic community and other minority groups on a resolution which condemns the poison of racism in all its forms and calls for community solidarity as the best way to protect all of us.


In solidarity against racism.


Nga mihi mahana,


John Minto

National Chair

Universities – Towards a greener future with next generation solar cell technology

Source: University of Canterbury

University of Canterbury (UC) chemistry researcher Dr Paula Brooksby is at the forefront of research to refine fast-advancing solar cell technology. Together with Dr Noel Duffy from CSIRO in Australia, she is exploring the potential of a carbon-based material to revolutionise photovoltaic technology and performance.

‘Graphene’ sounds rather like ‘graphite’ used in pencils. Indeed, the two are related but this lesser known cousin of graphite has rather different properties that put it at the leading edge of scientific research geared towards achieving a zero emissions future for energy production.

The way towards that future lies in the development of efficient electricity generation using renewable sources, as well as large-scale energy storage capacity.

In the vanguard of new solar energy technology are perovskite solar cells, valued for their low production costs and high efficiency. Recent advances in the field suggest the performance of these cells could be boosted still further if metal-oxide electrodes – used to separate photo-generated charges and channel them out of the cell – were replaced with a new graphene substitute.

Dr Paula Brooksby, a Senior Research Fellow in UC’s School of Physical and Chemical Science, observes that graphene is both more transparent and more chemically stable so appears to offer a much better choice than metal oxides.

With the support of a three-year $960,000 grant from the 2019 Marsden Fund Te Pūtea Rangahau, Dr Brooksby and co-researcher Dr Noel Duffy (CSIRO) plan to fully investigate graphene as a tool in solar cell design. Their goal is to engineer, for the first time, thin transparent graphene-organic film electrodes and then evaluate their potential use in perovskite solar cells.

“We aim to lay the groundwork for the next generation of solar cell design by providing an entirely new approach for constructing advanced optically transparent thin film electrode materials.”

The 2019 Marsden Fund Te Pūtea Rangahau standard grant of $960,000 awarded to this project was the highest such grant made to a UC-led research project in the latest funding round. It was one of six standard grants issued to the university; another six Fast-Start grants were also awarded. These grants support excellence in New Zealand research in science, engineering, maths, social sciences and humanities.

Health – Proposed vaping regulations address most concerns – ARFNZ

Source: Asthma and Respiratory Foundation
The proposed Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products (Vaping) Amendment Bill is a positive step forward but has room for improvement, says Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ Chief Executive Letitia Harding.
Much of what ARFNZ wanted to see from vaping regulation, such as restricting sales to over 18s, prohibiting advertising of vaping products, and introducing labelling and safety standards, have been addressed in the proposed amendment.
"This legislation is about 95% of what we wanted to see from a respiratory health perspective, and we’re really pleased to see the Bill finally being introduced to Parliament today," says Letitia. "We’re still interested in how safety standards will be set and regulated, and how 18+ sales will be regulated online, but these issues exist in other industries too, and won’t be solved overnight."
ARFNZ’s main concern surrounds advice to customers, and what form this advice will take. While recommendations and demonstrations should happen in vape stores only, the kind of advice given should focus not only on what the most suitable products are, but also on smoking cessation support. Letitia says that if these products are intended to help people quit smoking, there should be robust support systems in place to accomplish this, delivered at the point of sale.
"Studies have repeatedly shown that smoking rates in New Zealand are not overall decreasing due to the introduction of vaping, and many people are actually doing both," says Letitia. "The goal should always be to eventually quit vaping as well. Resources, support, and advice such as that from Quitline should be supplied in speciality vape stores to encourage people to quit, and programmes around reducing nicotine levels, as we see in other smoking cessation products, should be implemented and promoted."
ARFNZ’s recent ‘ Don’t Get Sucked In’ campaign aimed at addressing misinformation among young people and discouraging non-smokers from picking up vaping. The campaign has been well received by many in the education and health sectors, who felt the emphasis has been on vaping being less harmful than smoking, but there was a lack of information on harm, especially around negative effects of nicotine addiction among young people.
"The Foundation have said that we are happy to work with the vaping industry and Government to help create and inform this advice, and we are reiterating that now. As the advocacy group for the 700,000 Kiwis with a respiratory illness, many of whom attribute their issues to smoking, we want to see Smokefree 2025 become reality.
"Our shared goal is better respiratory health for New Zealand, and we should be working together to achieve it."

Banking – ASB and WiTH Collective New Zealand launch new brand platform, encouraging New Zealanders to ‘Live Life One Step Ahead’

Source: ASB

ASB has launched its latest brand campaign, encouraging New Zealanders to “Live Life One Step Ahead” via WiTH Collective New Zealand, Linked by Isobar.

The new brand work has been designed to reflect customers changing expectations of life and of their bank and marks a shift for ASB back to a long-term brand building approach, one that was carefully informed by both global best-practice and a bespoke and highly rigorous research and strategic process.

The multi-platform campaign introduces the country to Ben and Amy, a lovable and thoroughly modern Kiwi couple who will take us on a journey of the ups and downs, twists and turns of life and prove out the insight that ‘no two lives are the same’ and ‘whichever path you choose, ASB can help you live it one step ahead’.

Practice Lead Brand & Marketing at ASB, Shane Evans said:

“We’re really excited to introduce Ben and Amy to New Zealand. They’ve been great talent to work with and this new campaign kicks us into an exciting period as we look to create a long-term brand platform that is highly relevant to the next generation of customers and their expectations of us. This platform will also help us continue to develop our customer experience, which we’re looking forward to.”

General Manager of WiTH Collective, John Marshall said:

“The aim was to capture both the progressiveness and the warmth of the ASB brand and to create a platform that resonated with this new, younger audience to set the brand up for the future.”

Creative Director of WiTH Collective Jack Delmonte said:

“I got my first bank account with ASB when I was 12 years old. Hadleigh got his to sort the finances at his uni flat. Since then the way we approach life and what we want out of it has changed monumentally.  This work is a reflection of this modern mentality. We’re super excited for Kiwis to get to know Ben and Amy. They’re good sorts. Plenty more to come.”

Following on from their successful ASB Sustainaball campaign for the ASB Classic last month, the ‘Live Life’ campaign is the first major brand piece of work for WiTH Collective since their appointment as lead creative agency in 2019.

The first phase of the campaign went live Sunday 23 February and will be across all above the line channels and have an extensive digital and social presence over the coming months.

Education – Time for public to have say on name for new national institute

Source: Ministry of Education
New Zealanders have until 8 March 2020 to have their say on the new name for the national institute of skills and technology that will be a cornerstone of the new vocational education system.
"The new national institute of skills and technology will be hugely significant for vocational education in New Zealand. Over time, it will bring together work-based, on campus, and online vocational learning and training in a cohesive, unified system" says Institute of Skills and Technology (IST) Establishment Unit executive director Murray Strong.
The new Institute needs a name that reflects its identity – not just what it does, but who it is, where it has come from, and where it is going. A name that is for all learners, all employers, all staff, all New Zealand.
"After several months of development work, which was guided by distinguished experts in te reo Māori and included input from industry training and Polytech providers along with learner research, the IST Establishment Board is offering a preferred name of Pūkenga Aotearoa for people to consider and provide feedback on" says Murray Strong.
"We looked at a number of name options which are mentioned in a video on our website.
"We started this process by visiting as many people as possible around the country within significant time constraints. We wanted to start the conversation in person with those most affected by the change and now we want to hear from the New Zealand public. It’s simple to have your say, just visit, register and have your say.
"Make sure you do so by 8 March when public consultation finishes."
From 9 March contributions to this consultation will close for evaluation and review. The IST Board will determine its recommendation to the Minister.
In March the Minister of Education will consider the Board's recommendation and announce his choice of name for the new national Institute once he has made a decision.
The Board will provide feedback on how public input influenced their recommendation to the Minister.

Animal Welfare – Two animals killed during the current rodeo season

Source: SAFE NZ
RNZ Checkpoint last week reported that the rodeo industry has killed two animals during the current rodeo season.
Information recently obtained by animal rights organisation SAFE reveals two bulls were killed at ‘Mad Bull’ rodeo events in November and December. The first bull was killed after his back was injured, and the second after his leg was caught in a pen. This is the Mad Bull Rodeo Club’s first season. The club is affiliated to the New Zealand Rodeo Cowboys Association.
SAFE spokesperson Will Appelbe says animal deaths at rodeo are an inevitability.
"These deaths are appalling news, but sadly it was only a matter of time until more animals were killed at New Zealand rodeo events," says Appelbe.
"When animals are bullied and abused in rodeo events, they’re at risk of injury and death. Bulls are normally docile prey animals, and they experience significant distress when they’re forced to participate in rodeo events."
"It’s also seriously concerning that a new club has killed two animals in its first season."
Green MP Gareth Hughes recently renewed his party’s calls for the Labour Party to fulfil their pre-election promise. Before the last election, Labour promised it would ban flank straps, calf roping and several other elements of rodeo if elected. In a statement to RNZ, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor said while they haven’t scrapped plans to address flank straps, they have no plans to introduce new regulations for rodeo events.
"It’s become increasingly unclear what the Labour Party’s position on rodeo is. Before being elected to government, the party had a number of animal welfare policies which included a ban on the cruellest aspects of rodeo. We’re now heading into another election and voters will understandably want action on important promises for animals."
"With some political willpower, this government could make a real difference for animals in Aotearoa."

Health – Ka pai to Vaping Bill announcement – Now it’s time to work together

Source: Hapai Te Hauora
Associate Minister of Health Jenny Salesa has announced, after an anxious wait, the proposed Vaping Amendment Bill. CEO of Hāpai Te Haora, Selah Hart wants to congratulate the Minister and is encouraging all parties to help bring the bill home.
The Smoke-free Environments and Regulated Products (Vaping) Amendment Bill will be introduced to Parliament on Monday, 24 February. It will receive its first reading in March when the Bill will then be referred to the Health Select Committee.
The bill will ban the sale of vaping products to under-18-year-olds; prohibit advertising of vaping products and smokeless tobacco; restrict the sale of flavoured vaping products and e-cigarettes to R-18 specialty stores; limit general retailers, including dairies and service stations to only sell three flavours, and introduce a product safety system – which enables the Ministry of health to recall, suspend and issue warnings about vaping products.
Selah Hart says: "The vaping amendment bill balances the needs of two at-risk populations; There are adult smokers who are desperate to quit and then there are youth non-smokers. The bill means we can keep vaping products away from young people, which Hāpai has been pushing for from day one. The bill also means adults can use vaping as a way to kick their deadly smoking habit, which is vital for families who are struggling with intergenerational tobacco addictions."
Hāpai urges our political parties to support Minister Salesa on this bill. Says Hart "We want to see parties to work together to support this bill and keep it moving. We need to see the bill passed before Parliament adjourns on August 6. Let’s make sure it happens so that we meet the needs of our most vulnerable communities."
Stephanie Erick, GM of the National Tobacco Control Advocacy Service at Hāpai Te Hauora says party politicians should think about the average smoker and what this bill means for them. "If you’re using smoking to deal with everyday stresses, then you need a way out. We know that the best thing for our lungs is fresh air, but we also need real answers for people who are heavily addicted to cigarettes. Great work Minister Salesa. Now let’s keep this moving."