Budget brush-off won’t slow down Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ

A lack of Government consideration in the 2019 Wellbeing Budget won’t slow down the work of community health organisations, says Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ Chief Executive Letitia O’Dwyer.   

Active for over 50 years, ARFNZ has provided resources, education, and support for New Zealanders living with respiratory conditions, all while being funded solely through donations, supporters, and other funding operators.

“We had hoped that the Wellbeing Budget would be a turning point for community health,” says O’Dwyer. “There certainly has been consideration given to certain aspects of community health, which is always good to see, but it’s a shame that the Foundation has again been overlooked. 

“Respiratory disease affects over 700,000 New Zealanders, and is the third leading cause of death among Kiwis. The work we do to represent that first number is vital to reducing the second; our efforts in education and advocacy are paramount to reducing the impact that respiratory disease has on our communities. Budgetary consideration would mean we could expand our efforts and capabilities, and achieve even better outcomes for those who live with these conditions.” 

The Foundation will continue its efforts in the community health space, including creating and distributing information packs, running the ‘Breathe Better September’ campaign, and the ‘Sailor the Puffer Fish’ show, which aims to educate children about asthma. This show has been well received, especially by the Māori community, with a number of shows being held exclusively in Te Reo Māori. 

“The use of Sailor’s taonga helped older children to understand what mate huangō was,” said one Rotorua teacher. “The engaging, child-friendly nature of the presentation presented a serious topic in a way that young children could access and understand,” said another teacher in Wellington. 

 For more on Sailor the Puffer Fish, as well as ARFNZ’s other work, go to Asthmafoundation.org.nz