Health and Disability Commissioner supports progress towards establishing an Aged Care Commissioner

Source: Health and Disability Commissioner

Health and Disability Commissioner Morag McDowell welcomes the Government’s announcement today on progress towards establishing an Aged Care Commissioner.
“The creation of a dedicated Aged Care Commissioner is an excellent opportunity to elevate our work to promote and protect the rights of people receiving aged care services,” says Morag McDowell.
The Health and Disability Commissioner (HDC) is the independent watchdog for consumers’ rights in the health and disability sector.
The Aged Care Commissioner will be located within the HDC to provide greater oversight of aged care services and leadership in advocating for quality improvement across the sector.
“While there are multiple agencies that are responsible for ensuring the quality of services, the Aged Care Commissioner will act as a high profile focal point for monitoring and addressing quality and safety issues in health and disability services for older people,” says Morag McDowell.
“We look forward to engaging with a wide range of stakeholders to build our understanding of the key issues, concerns and priority areas for the role.”
HDC will begin advertising for applications in August, with work already underway to have the role and additional capacity to support it in place within the coming year.
“We’re hoping to hear from a diverse range of candidates with the leadership, communication and decision-making skills to drive improvement in the aged care sector,” says Morag McDowell.
“Ideally, they will also have a deep understanding of consumers’ experiences and knowledge of health and disability services for older people.” 

Health – Leading specialist health advertising agency rebrands, shines light on health literacy

Source: Expand PR

Essence – The Health Agency (Essence), which celebrates 13 years in business this year, today unveils its new brand purpose and identity including a refreshed website, to better reflect the specialist healthcare agency's evolution.

Ben Hart, Director of Essence, says the company, which he co-founded in 2008 before assuming sole directorship six years ago, has seen phenomenal growth over the past 18 months, marked by a bold and confident rebrand.

“Being New Zealand's leading healthcare marketing and advertising agency, our number one priority is to support our clients develop insightful communication, that closes the gap between overwhelming medical data and relatable consumer content and creative. It's about achieving better health outcomes, and that often comes through clarity of message,” says Ben.

In the past 12 months, Essence has welcomed six new team members, increasing its capability and extending its portfolio of clients, both in New Zealand and Australia.

Internal focus has been put on the addition of strategic planning, extension of medical /health content expertise and strengthening its client service team to take the agency's commitment to delivering meaningful health brand communications to the next level.

Essence GM/Strategy Director, Kristen Marks, one of two senior appointments made in 2020 to increase the agency's strategic planning offering, says recent client wins have enabled Essence to extend its focus into new therapeutic areas and industry sectors, building on the agency's repertoire of long-standing client relationships, including MSD, Astra Zeneca, Novartis, Bayer, Pfizer and Janssen.

Kristen says global events have further highlighted the importance of relevant, genuine content that deeply connects with, and understands patient's unique health experiences, often created in partnership with healthcare professionals.

“Our team has a shared passion to bring positive change and genuine, human truth to all that we do. We consistently strive to create engaging, patient-centric work that helps communicate complex information simply, to support behavioural change,” says Kristen.

To cater for the agency's expansion, Essence recently shifted its office to a dedicated space in leafy St Patrick's Square in the heart of Tamaki Makaurau.

For more information visit

Legislation – The Salvation Army supports proposed Conversion Practices Prohibition Bill

Source: Salvation Army

The Salvation Army is supporting the proposed Conversion Practices Prohibition Legislation Bill, which will outlaw this unethical practice.

The Salvation Army continues to oppose vilification of, or discrimination against, anyone on the grounds of sexuality or gender. This includes attempts to change another person's sexual orientation or gender identity, and any actions which deny a person's sexual orientation or gender identity.

Christians are called to be like God and therefore to be living examples of his love in action in the world. Conversion practices, which have been shown to be both ineffective and deeply harmful, are the antithesis of this.

We are told to “Accept one another… just as Christ accepted [us]” (Romans 15.7a), and to be “sympathetic, love one another, [and] be compassionate and humble” in our dealings with others (1 Peter 3.8). We are instructed to clothe ourselves “with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience… And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity” (Colossians 3.12,14).

The Salvation Army recognises the emotional, psychological, social and spiritual harms that these practices have caused and stands against their use in every circumstance.

Renewable Energy – Commentary: Feeling our way towards hydrogen – Tina Schirr

Source: BusinessNZ

Right now hydrogen is getting a lot of attention. Many countries are focusing on producing hydrogen for fuel, or procuring it, or planning for its future use.
Hydrogen fuel is highly desirable – clean hydrogen produces none of the harmful emissions of other energy sources.
So hydrogen is potentially a very good energy source for powering our post-carbon world.
But there’s a catch – production of hydrogen is not economic at present and currently can’t be produced cost-effectively.
As a result, countries are taking the initiative in different ways as they feel their way towards a hydrogen-powered future.
This week the World Energy Council (WEC) released a report on hydrogen – Hydrogen on the Horizon: Ready, Almost Set, Go?: the BusinessNZ Energy Council, WEC’s representative in New Zealand, contributed to the report, along with 128 other countries.
The report highlights the global activity that’s occurring in the development of hydrogen as a fuel source.
A number of countries in the Middle East, North Africa and the Americas are focusing on producing hydrogen. Others, in Asia and Europe, are more focused on procuring it.
Their reasons for looking to hydrogen are varied – including its potential to diversify energy sources, decarbonise economies, allow for repurposing infrastructure, and to grow green jobs and green economies.
Some countries – notably Germany, Japan, South Korea and Singapore – are partnering with others to ensure they can achieve global hydrogen supply chains and adequate supply once hydrogen becomes cost-effective to produce in significant quantities.
New Zealand is becoming integrated into such partnerships, signing bilateral partnership agreements with Japan and Singapore and partnering with Germany on green hydrogen research projects.
New Zealand is also among the countries that are seeking ways to produce hydrogen cost-effectively.
Last week Contact Energy and Meridian Energy called for expressions of interest to develop a hydrogen production plant in Southland. Their thinking is that a new hydrogen industry could potentially take up the excess electricity from our bountiful, renewable hydro generation.
If the exploration of the potential for hydrogen as a cost-effective fuel is successful, it would be a wonderful addition to New Zealand’s energy system as a whole.
New Zealand’s unusual energy profile, with our predominance of renewable hydro energy, would seem to be ideal for producing hydrogen in the cleanest way possible.
Other forms of production, e.g. from nuclear generation, would be more problematic because of perceived safety or environmental issues.
Perceptions around the method of hydrogen production are important, the WEC report says, because a key concern facing energy policy makers is how to trigger demand.
WEC notes that the current hydrogen ‘conversation’ is heavily focused on supply, without paying much heed to the role of hydrogen users. But it’s important to explore what’s needed to spark demand by consumers, including a specific focus on the development of hydrogen infrastructure and a global supply chain.
So we are in an unusual situation: we have hydrogen producers trying to find a way to produce hydrogen fuel cost-effectively, while at the same time energy policy makers are trying to prompt demand and get the hydrogen infrastructure set up so they’re in place by the time that cost-effectiveness becomes a reality!
This shows the complexity of the task of achieving our post-carbon environment.
And it highlights the significant risks facing those companies that choose to invest in that task.
Companies investing hard-earned dollars in innovative, green business ventures are doing us a great service. For example local company Hiringa Energy is currently working to establish a nationwide network of hydrogen refuelling stations to be supplied by locally produced hydrogen.
We should watch this work with interest, along with the proposal for a hydrogen production plant in Southland and other business ventures involving hydrogen here in New Zealand.
And we should take note of what other countries are doing as they feel their way towards an eventual global hydrogen industry.
The way isn’t clear yet, but the fact that so many countries and companies are working towards the hydrogen goal gives a great deal of hope.
Tina Schirr is Executive Director, BusinessNZ Energy Council

Local Government – Temporary facilities closures due to toxic mould

Source: Hutt City Council

Hutt City Council Chief Executive Jo Miller has temporarily closed the Hardwick Smith Lounge in Belmont and the first floor of the Petone Library building due to the health and safety risk to staff and users from toxic mould. The Petone Library remains open, with additional health and safety measures in place.
A mid-week inspection of both facilities found toxic mould and high moisture levels and a decision was made to close them immediately, as a precautionary measure while further inspections are undertaken.
Petone Library and other staff have been informed. The library building’s first floor comprises a number of offices, meeting rooms, reception area and store rooms. The library ground floor has been checked and is considered safe for staff and the community to continue to occupy.
“The health and safety of our staff and community members who use these community venues is of paramount importance, which is why we took immediate action,” says Jo Miller.
“We were planning to undertake remedial work at Petone library later in the year to address the water tightness of the building. We will now bring these works forward.
The technical advice received is that anybody concerned about their health because of potential toxic mould exposure should see a medical professional.
The users of both facilities are being advised and offered alternative venues for meetings, activities and functions.
Further information can be found here:

Education – First-year Whitireia Māori nursing students connect with their community to make a differencee

Source: Whitireia

Whitireia is offering first-year nursing students in the Bachelor of Nursing Māori programme the chance to make a real difference and gain clinical experience within their community through hands-on training in different community situations, with an overview of Kaupapa Māori. 

“The placements allow students to engage in their communities and improve their clinical skills in the process.” Jodi Bishop (Ngāti Toa Rangatira), tutor for Bachelor of Nursing Māori says.

Nursing tutors at Whitireia used their community networks to find placements for their students and now have organisations coming to them asking if they can take part. They have worked with the likes of social housing providers, the Māori Cancer Community Authority, Mahi Toa, and the Iwi Chairs Forum. 

Deni Tipene, a mother of two from Te Āti Awa, is retraining as a nurse in order to follow her passion. She is in her first year of a Bachelor of Nursing Māori at Whitireia, which she says has been excellent as it allows her to learn more about her Māori heritage while learning clinical skills. 

Deni explains how her placements at the Te Āhuru Mōwai kotahitanga whanau day and at the New Zealand TeleHealth Forum have been incredibly valuable. “They have helped me realise the importance of the disparities we face in health today and reminded me why I’m studying to become a nurse,” she says.

During these community placements, the students perform blood pressure checks and connect with members of the community. As a result, the students can understand the health issues facing the community and show them that healthcare workers are approachable.  

“The community is more engaged and curious, and they are thinking more about their health. For example, when getting their blood pressure checked, people will ask what it means if it’s high and sometimes even discuss booking an appointment with their nurse or doctor to get it checked,” Deni says.  

Another student benefiting from these community placements is Maia Douglas-Baker of Ngāti Tūwharetoa and Te Āti Awa. Maia comes from a family of healers and was encouraged to study nursing by her mum, who is in her third year of a Bachelor of Nursing Māori at Whitireia.  

Maia has just completed an eight-week placement at a Kohanga Reo where she was practising child development skills by observing the kids and aspects of their lives, such as their diets. Maia didn’t just gain clinical experience during this placement; she was also able to improve her te reo knowledge. 

“At the Kohanaga Reo, you can only speak te reo in front of the kids, and I’m not fluent, so the kids would help by teaching me. My mum and koro are fluent in te reo, so it was great being able to take what I learnt back home to my whānau,” says Maia.

Next semester, the Whitireia Bachelor of Nursing Māori students will have placements at aged care facilities to further develop their clinical skills and gain real-life experience whilst making a difference. 

Note: Attached is a photo of Maia Douglas-Baker.

Further information on Bachelor of Nursing Māori: The Bachelor of Nursing Māori uses theoretical and clinical learning to support Māori students to become registered nurses, capable of working in numerous multicultural settings. 

The programme uses a distinct Māori pedagogy that encapsulates whānau, hāpu and iwi ways of knowing. The programme draws on both Māori and tau iwi body of knowledge that enhances ākonga learning and contributes to the graduate being competent and safe to practice in their communities and communities around the world.

More information can be found here
More information on upcoming Whitireia and WelTec open days can be found here

Family Planning – New research shows providing contraception is more complex today than it was a decade ago

Source: Family Planning

Te Whāriki Takapou and Family Planning New Zealand welcome new research exploring how contraceptive provision has changed among Family Planning clients over the past decade. Family Planning employees and the Chief Executive of Te Whāriki Takapou are among the authors of the research.
“This research shows that Family Planning clients are increasingly choosing to use a long acting reversible contraceptive (LARC),” said Dr Beth Messenger, Family Planning National Medical Advisor and lead author. “This has implications for how we provide contraception to New Zealanders. To achieve equitable reproductive health outcomes, it is essential there is equitable access to all available methods of contraceptives – including LARCs.”
The research shows that cost of the contraceptive is a barrier to use, but there are other differences in contraceptive starts by ethnicity and deprivation which cannot be explained by cost alone.
There is currently no consistent data reporting or analysis of contraceptive provision in primary care. In 2019, the Ministry of Health published the first national report on contraceptive use since 1999.
“This significant gap in knowledge about contraceptive provision means that current policy and funding decisions about contraception provided in primary care are not evidence based and therefore cannot meaningfully improve equity of access,” said Dr Alison Green, Chief Executive of Te Whāriki Takapou.
The research was published in the New Zealand Medical Journal today. 

Awards – NZ Frost Fans is Hawke’s Bay ASB Exporter of the Year

Source: Business Central

New Zealand Frost Fans has been named ExportNZ Hawke’s Bay ASB Exporter of the Year for 2021.
The Hastings manufacturer was presented with the award last night (Thursday 29 July) by ASB Executive General Manager for Corporate Banking, Nigel Annett, at the sold-out awards dinner at the Toi Toi Hawke’s Bay Arts and Event Centre.
The judges said that NZ Frost Fans set a new standard for a growth company that was well balanced – a key factor that saw them take out the big prize.
Earlier in the evening, NZ Frost Fans won the T&G Global Best Established Award, going head-to-head with the other category winners for the top award: Kiwigarden, producers of nutritious kids’ snacks from Hastings (winner of the ContainerCo Best Emerging Exporter award), and Future Products Group, designers of food display solutions based in Napier (winner of the Southeast Asia Centre of Asia-Pacific Excellence in Innovation award).
The judges were NZTE director Wayne Norrie, ASB Head of International Trade Fergus Lee, Callaghan Innovation Specialist Jenny Brown, Napier Port Chairman Alasdair Macleod, and NZTE Regional Manager Katrina Buscke.
In the award citation, the judges said New Zealand Frost Fans stood out from the many strong entries. “The strong and local partner ecosystem, innovative production and shipping systems, and IP in their blades combine to showcase a very well-balanced company with strong capability and growth prospects. Despite many challenges with sheer growth, logistics, and unable to travel to many of its markets, they have performed in an exemplary way.”
The judges were impressed by Best Emerging Exporter Kiwigarden’s ability to seek external advice and act on it, that “despite difficulties through Covid, they have remained focused on their vision, gathered excellent skills around them, and made excellent progress. The pieces of the puzzle are coming together, and the future looks rosy.”
The judges praised the Excellent in Innovation category winner, Future Products Group, for showing innovation in every step of their business model – from selling, gaining customer insights, solutions, and “boldly taking on a large competitive market accustomed to low-cost products with a high-cost high-value solution.”
The other 2021 finalists were: Wood Mallets (Otane), NZ Mecates (Wairoa), National Distillery Company (Napier), Nibblish (Havelock North), NZ Juice Company (Whakatu), The True Honey Co (Dannevirke), Mt Erin Group (Hastings), GisVin (Gisborne).
The Unsung Heroes Award, which recognises work behind the scenes of exporting companies, was shared by Mike Jones, of Gisvin, Simon Beale, of T&G Global, and Fidel Russ, of Wood Mallets. The judges said they couldn’t single out anyone, so decided to recognise the three businesses and individuals “who, in their own way, each make a significant difference to exporting in the region.”
The Judge’s Choice Award, a discretionary category, was won by Ilana Cheiban of NZ Mecates. The judges said she had done “a supreme job” in carving out a company from scratch, and unanimously wanted to acknowledge NZ Mecates.
ASB’s Nigel Annett said he was impressed by the calibre of finalists. “This is the seventh year we have sponsored the ExportNZ ASB Hawke’s Bay Awards, and every year we are impressed by the quality of the entrants. The past 18 months have been uniquely challenging for businesses, and the way this year’s finalists have responded to this is inspiring. Our local companies do an amazing job on the world stage, and we’re incredibly proud to play a supporting role in this.
ExportNZ Hawke’s Bay Executive Officer Amanda Liddle said the innovation and hard work on display by the record number of entries was inspiring, considering many had faced their most difficult trading year for many years. “We were also thrilled with the wide variety of entries and shows what diverse businesses we have in the export sector, and congratulations to the finalists. We are also thankful for the support for our sponsors who help make the awards possible, Hawke’s Bay Airport, NZTE, Great Things Grow Here, Napier City Council, Grundy Productions, and Trinity Hill.”
Business Central Chief Executive Simon Arcus said he was blown away by the interest in the awards and the quality of entries, especially considering the trading environment. “This year, it’s more important than others to take time to celebrate business and acknowledge the critical contribution of export to the regional and national economy. Even in the face of the ongoing challenges from Covid-19, our exporters continue to do well on the world stage, and it shows through in the quality of this year’s winners and finalists. They do us proud.”
Full List of 2021 ExportNZ Hawke’s Bay Award Winners:
2021 ASB Hawke’s Bay Exporter of the Year: New Zealand Frost Fans
T&G Global Best Established Award: New Zealand Frost Fans
ContainerCo Best Emerging Exporter Award: Kiwigarden
Southeast Asia Centre of Asia-Pacific Excellence in Innovation Award: Future Products Group
Unsung Heroes Award: Mike Jones, of Gisvin, Simon Beale, of T&G Global, and Fidel Russ, of Wood Mallets
Judge’s Choice Award: Ilana Cheiban, NZ Mecates
Editor note: Business Central delivers and supports ExportNZ in the Hawke’s Bay and wider Central New Zealand region, represents 3,500 employers and exporters across the lower North Island, providing advice, training, support, and advocates for policies that reflect the interests of the business community.

Environment – Report shows waterways in the Canterbury high country are heading the same way as the plains

Source: Fish and Game NZ

North Canterbury Fish & Game are concerned by the findings of a major Environment Canterbury (ECan) report showing land-use intensification in the Canterbury high country.
ECan scientists found 6,847 hectares in the Waimakariri, Rakaia, Hakatere/Ashburton, and Rangitata river catchments had been developed in the 1990-2019 period. 
The report links this change to deteriorating water quality in high country lakes and spring-fed streams.
Rasmus Gabrielsson, Chief Executive of North Canterbury Fish & Game, says, “The report puts on paper what the public has witnessed in the high country for some time. Anyone who has spent time in the high country has seen the intensification, shifting from a landscape dominated by the browns and greys of tussock and shrubland to the cultivated green pasture and fodder crops more associated with the Canterbury Plains.”
The ECan report states that “On the lowland plains of Canterbury there has been a progressive loss of aquatic habitat and values to facilitate agricultural efficiency. Land-use intensification in the high country, if un-regulated, is likely to result in similar outcomes” (page 21).
This reinforces a report released by ECan last year, which showed that iconic high-country lakes in the high country, such as Pearson and Grasmere, show declining water quality trends. These lakes are sliding down the trophic index level from being near-pristine to a more turbid state.
The ECan report states that lakes were particularly vulnerable to land use intensification as they can be ‘accumulators’ of inputs of contaminants such as nutrients and sediment from their catchments.
In conducting the study, scientists looked for signs of intensification, including removing woody vegetation, removing native tussock grasses, newly bare (cultivated or sprayed) paddocks, newly sown paddocks, and the installation of irrigation systems.
Areas targeted for agricultural development tended to be flat or gently sloping landforms such as the beds and margins of braided rivers, terraces, outwash plains, alluvial fans and moraines.
Gabrielsson says, “We must act now and do more to save our iconic but sensitive lakes, wetlands and waterways high country environment from further degradation”.
Report links:
16th July 2021 Report: Agricultural land-use change in mid-Canterbury hill and high country, 1990- 2019: implications for indigenous biodiversity and ecosystem health:
2020 Report: Canterbury high-country lakes monitoring program – state and trends, 2005 – 2019. Refer below to link:

Farming Sector – New drive for strong wool profitability gaining impetus, Federated Farmers says

Source: Federated Farmers

New Zealand’s wool industry is entering an exciting new era of collaboration, innovation and consumer-focus to deliver game changing profitability to farmers, William Beetham says.
“We’re really pleased to see industry players work together to end fragmentation and concentrate on driving extra value from the superior attributes we all know that strong wool entails,” the Federated Farmers Meat and Wool Chairperson said.
“I believe it’s all adding up to a new dawn for New Zealand strong wool.”
William pointed to recent initiatives, including:
-A proposed merger of two main farmer owned co-operatives (Wools of NZ – 730 farmers; Primary Wool Co-operative – 1,400 farmers), with the aim of an integrated supply chain. Farmers will vote on the idea in November but prior to then the Primary Wool Co-operative will become owner of CP Wool brokers by buying Carrfields’ 50% holding.
-The Wool Research Organisation of NZ (WRONZ) has just announced a world-class research initiative with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, and development of unique wool particles, powders and pigments with global export potential for applications as diverse as cosmetics, printing, luxury goods and personal care.
-A joined-up farm assurance programme is underway, backed by 23 wool companies. The aim is to build systems to ensure a standard of supply and traceability that meets market expectations.
“We’re moving beyond selling our clip as a raw product as we look for high-value, branded consumer products that capitalize on strong wool’s natural, sustainable, super-warm, fire-retardant, non-leaching, moisture and mould-resistant credentials,” William said.
The initiatives already mentioned come on the back of companies such as Cavalier-Bremworth, Big Save Furniture and Merino NZ championing strong wool, and the push into USA markets with branded wool product opportunities by the Strong Wool Action Group (SWAG).
“This progress is a culmination of advocacy by my predecessors, Federated Farmers Meat & Wool leaders such as Miles Anderson and Rick Powdrell, and also many other individuals, agencies and companies throughout the supply chain. I also acknowledge government investment and Minister Damien O’Connor, who has pretty much made this one of his key missions.
“I’m really buoyed by this determination to lift our game, tell the exceptional story of our wool’s provenance, and get better returns for New Zealand farmers.”
There’s a long road ahead to get to where everyone wants the strong wool industry to be and part of that is a commitment by farmers to meet assurance standards, William said. There also maybe a requirement for farmers to further invest in their industry.
“But when we get there the potential rewards are huge,” he added.