Government ‘heat plan’ an overkill?

Opinion by Jess Paton

The New Zealand Ministry of Health recently announced that they are starting to plan for hotter summers bought on by global warming.

Associate Health Minister Julie Anne Genter said “climate change means summer temperatures are expected to rise across both the North and South Island, increasing the risk of heat stress and subtropical diseases.”

So, the Ministry of Health decided to go and develop a nationwide “Heat Health Plan” to help District Health Boards and community service providers prepare for the health impacts of hotter summers. Sure, I can see that there are many health related issues that come from hot weather, but shouldn’t our District Health Boards and community service providers already be prepared for that? That sort of thing must be in their programs already, surely?

Julie says “while New Zealand and the world are taking action to limit climate change, some temperature rise is now locked in and Government has a responsibility to prepare for that. Climate change is also likely result in more droughts, wildfires, floods and infectious disease across the country.

These are potentially big challenges for the health sector and I want to make sure we are ready to tackle them.”

Does our government not have enough to do? Are they bored? They have enough time on their hands to write up a heat plan for summer? I think there is better ways they can use their time and resources than doing that!

In the media release that Julie sent out she listed at the end the sun smart message that we were all taught right from children. I hope there is something more in depth in the actual ‘heat health plan’ than this because otherwise its basically pointless.

I think if people are aware of the dangers of the sun and do everything they can to prevent them, then that is enough. The government’s never going to be able to prevent cancer. Heatstroke. Hypothermia. They have no power over those diseases/illnesses so why waste their time writing up a plan for that?

People just need to be sun smart and that’s all they can do. That’s the simple answer to the problem really. Not spend thousands of dollars on a ‘heat health plan.’ What are your thoughts?

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