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29 August 2018


Issue 6 - August 2019

This Healthy Policies Update is brought to you by the Healthy Policies Team at Toi Te Ora Public Health (Toi Te Ora).  This bi-annual update showcases the support available to council planners, advisors and policy makers, who are helping create healthy communities across the Bay of Plenty and Lakes districts where people live, learn, work and play.  It provides information about the latest evidence, data and tools, and local and national innovative case studies.

This update is available in both e-copy and hardcopy.  To subscribe to the newsletter please click here. For more information on how Toi Te Ora can support your Council with any of the topics raised in this update, please email

Please circulate this update and subscription invitation to your colleagues and any relevant stakeholders.

In this update:

Council Spaces Ideal to Support Breastfeeding 

Breastfeeding has health benefits for both mothers and their babies, and lays the foundation for a healthy life. The Ministry of Health and Toi Te Ora recommend that mothers exclusively breastfeed their babies for the first six months and then continue to breastfeed with the addition of solid food until a baby is two years old.

Councils can play an important role in supporting breastfeeding in public. A large range of public facilities such as swimming pools, sports centres, community halls and libraries are ideal places to support breastfeeding friendly spaces.

Breastfeeding Friendly Spaces Accreditation provided by Toi Te Ora is an initiative that creates and sustains breastfeeding friendly environments with the aim of normalising breastfeeding within our communities.

Rotorua Library is one of many libraries in our region that is Breastfeeding Friendly Accredited (alongside Greerton, Mount Maunganui, Pāpāmoa, Tauranga and Whakatāne). The recently refurbished Rotorua Library and Children’s Health Hub provides a dedicated private parents room as well as comfortable seating located throughout the library for those who wish to breastfeed. The library staff have seen a positive response to both the public and private areas. If you would like to become Breastfeeding Friendly Accredited email or visit our website

Healthy Public Policy in Action

Gambling derived funding comes at a very high cost to our community. Problem gambling imposes personal costs on individuals and their families, as well as social and economic costs on the wider community. The negative outcome of gambling therefore far outweighs the benefits of community funding from gambling machine revenue. Gambling machine societies are required by law to allocate a minimum 40% of proceeds (the amount wagered, less the amount paid back as prizes) back to community groups and organisations, but not necessarily to the community where the money was lost. For example, in 2017/18 only 23% of gambling machine spending in Tauranga was redistributed to the Tauranga community by way of grants.

Western Bay of Plenty District Council and Tauranga City Council have recently adopted changes to their Class 4 Gambling and TAB Venues Policies with both Councils introducing a sinking lid. Alongside Ōpōtiki and Kawerau District Councils (who already have a sinking lid policy) no new gaming machines or venues are allowed in the districts, meaning that the number of machines and places where people can gamble cannot increase and will reduce over time. A win for healthy public policy!

In addition, for the Western Bay of Plenty District Policy (alongside the existing Ōpōtiki District Policy) this also means relocating a gaming machine venue is prohibited and clubs that merge are no longer able to hold the machines, key policy changes that indicate a strong commitment to reducing gambling harm in the district.

Toi Te Ora, and Bay of Plenty and Lakes District Health Boards (the DHBs), recognise we need to work together to seek alternative, more sustainable and equitable community funding models, reducing reliance on gambling proceeds. The DHBs have committed to not accept any funding derived from gambling machine proceeds.

To find out more about gambling harm and sinking lid policies read the DHBs’ Position Statements on Gambling Machines.

Wellbeing in the Spotlight

A Positive Shift for the Four Aspects of Wellbeing

Toi Te Ora is pleased to see the reinstatement of the four aspects of community wellbeing (social, economic, environmental and cultural) into the Local Government Act.

A recent Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) press release says, “The reinstatement of the four wellbeing’s is formal recognition that councils have a significant role to play in lifting the quality of life of our people, and the health of our environment.”  This positive shift provides a mandate for councils to consider the effect all decisions have on the overall wellbeing of the community, or in other words considering Health in All Policies. Click here to read more about Health and all Policies.

We look forward to continuing to work with our local councils to support them in the reinstatement of these four wellbeing’s to help create a healthier, brighter future for our communities.

Wellbeing Indicator Framework

In the lead-up to changes to the Local Government Act, the New Zealand Society of Local Government Managers (SOLGM) has developed a draft ‘Well-being Indicator Framework’.  This firms up and describes how to make the four wellbeing’s work in practice and will enable each Council to present a snapshot of its community’s social, economic, environmental and cultural wellbeing. To find out more visit the Local Government Magazine.

To discuss wellbeing further and how Toi Te Ora can support your work please email the Healthy Policies team at

The Wellbeing Budget

In May 2019, New Zealand’s first Wellbeing Budget was released which identified five budget priorities:

  1. Creating opportunities for productive businesses, regions, iwi and others to transition to a sustainable and low-emissions economy

  2. Supporting a thriving nation in the digital age through innovation, social and economic opportunities

  3. Lifting Māori and Pacific incomes, skills and opportunities

  4. Reducing child poverty and improving child wellbeing, including addressing family violence

  5. Supporting mental wellbeing for all New Zealanders, with a special focus on under 24-year-olds

Under the Government’s wellbeing approach, the development of budget priorities represents new ways of working and of thinking about how we measure our success as a country and as a Government.  The priorities for Budget 2019 will also be relevant for local government decision making and investment and have been chosen using the Treasury’s Living Standards Framework

Biophilic Summit Explores Health for People and Nature

Dr Neil de Wet presents ‘Biophilic Public Health: re-imagining health for people and planet’ at the Biophilic Summit.

Biophilic design, biophilic cities, re-wilding cities, urban ecological restoration, nurturing nature, nature-based solutions, biomimicry, sustainable food and transport, transforming school outdoor spaces, mātauranga Māori and public health were all topics of discussion at the first Bay of Plenty and Lakes Biophilic Summit held in Tauranga on the 20th June.

Organised and hosted by Toi Te Ora, the theme of this one-day event was, 'Connecting people with nature – Whāia ngā tapuwae o Tāne Mahuta i te Mana Whenua ki te Mana Tangata'.  The event brought together leaders, experts and representatives from across the community (such as from local government, education, academia, health, tourism, community groups and Iwi) to discuss and develop our understanding of biophilic thinking and about how adopting biophilic approaches in the Bay of Plenty and Lakes can provide benefits for people, nature and the planet.

“In the 21st century 'health for all' has to be about not just the health of people but also about the health of other species and ecosystems, especially because for humans to thrive and be healthy we need the natural world around us to be flourishing and healthy,” says Dr Neil de Wet, Medical Officer of Health.  “Biophilic thinking is about love, awe and respect for nature, and is giving us new ideas, insights and examples from around the country and around the world that give real hope about how our cities and the places where we live, learn, work and play can be re-imagined and re-designed to be places that care for the health and wellbeing of people as well as other species and ecosystems."

For more information see:

What’s Fair?

Aiming for fair health outcomes in our community is just as important as seeking improvements in overall community health.  This is because everyone has a right to experience their full health potential, no matter their gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic status or level of physical or mental ability.  

Yet there is often confusion about what is required to achieve fair health outcomes, also known in the health sector as ‘health equity’.  The term ‘equity’ is often confused with ‘equality’ or ‘giving everyone the same’ and this confusion can get in the way of effective communication and collaboration. 

So with this in mind, it’s great news that the Ministry of Health has recently adopted a formal definition of equity to provide a common understanding for all work and engagements within the health and disability system including government agencies involved in the broader social and economic determinants of health.  The Ministry of Health’s definition of equity is:

In Aotearoa New Zealand, people have differences in health that are not only avoidable but unfair and unjust.  Equity recognises different people with different levels of advantage require different approaches and resources to get equitable health outcomes.

The Ministry of Health states that, “Having a common understanding of equity is an essential foundation for coordinated and collaborative effort to achieve equity in health and wellness.”
So now we are crystal clear on what’s fair.

A Short Transport Video We Like!

Tauranga City Council has developed a series of short videos explaining, in a simple way, the ‘transport challenges’ facing Tauranga city - which are by no means ‘simple’ challenges!  Our favourite video is, “Who are the roads for”.  In this video, Tauranga City Council explains that they want to think differently about neighbourhood roads by asking the question, “What’s the best way to make this neighbourhood a safer and easier place for the people who live here?" 

“Not just people who are driving, but people of all ages and abilities, whether they’re eight years old, eighty years old, business people, tourists, school children, tradespeople, whether they’re traveling by foot, bike, mobility  scooter, skateboard, bus, truck or car.”    

The first principle of healthy transport developed by the World Health Organization in 2007 is about having a “vision of social equity”.  This basically means that urban transport systems should provide high quality accessibility to all urban residents who need access to jobs, schools and commercial districts, regardless of whether they own a private vehicle.  

We think Tauranga City Council is heading in a fair and healthy direction by taking this approach to their neighbourhood roads. See the video for yourself here.

Read more about Healthy Transport in Developing Cities from the Health and Environment Linkages Initiative.


Good Planning and Best Practice Protect the Air we Breathe

We each breathe in thousands of litres of air per day at rest and a lot more when we are physically active.

Air pollution can affect people’s health, especially their heart and lungs – and can even lead to early death.  Most of the health impacts from air pollution are associated with particulate matter, for example matter fine dusts.

There are known risks associated with living and working in conditions where there are recognised levels of contaminants above national standards or guidelines.

Conflicts can arise between some land use and air quality and while some conflicts are obvious, like quarrying activities less than 100 meters from a residential area or an industrial area next to a marae, others are less so; for instance a petrol station adjacent to a residential area. 

Good air quality is fundamental to our health and wellbeing.  The quality of the air we breathe is largely beyond the control of individuals and we therefore rely on regulatory authorities to take action to keep us all well.  There is no practical way of treating or cleaning air like we can treat water for drinking.  Therefore land use activities that may impact on our home, school, or workplace need to have a sufficient buffer and good commercial/industrial practices to protect both activities. 

Once a land use and air quality conflict is identified, the health risk exists and resolving the problem is far from straight forward.  Often the problem presents considerable challenges to the community and regulatory authorities and may take years, and in some cases decades, to get a solution.  Meanwhile, the conflict and risk to health continues. 

A number of regulatory authorities have a role in air quality - local authorities, public health services, Ministry for the Environment, WorkSafe, Environmental Protection Authority, and Maritime New Zealand for instance. 

The below are examples of legislation that can provide for the control and protection of air quality:

  • Resource Management Act = outside air including air quality conflicts

  • Building Act = indoor air

  • Health and Safety at Work Act = workplace air quality

  • Maritime Transport Act = pollution from ships

  • Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act = hazardous substances

  • The Health Act’s Nuisance to Health Provisions may apply where other legislation is inappropriate.

There are many tools and levers available to prevent conflict and protect air quality.  For example in some areas airsheds manage ambient air quality, controls are in place to manage emissions at source, land is zoned on the activity, and location-specific controls are set to prevent reverse sensitivity.

To prevent conflict, regulatory authorities with a role in air quality need to be consistent and compatible with each other to protect the air that we breathe. 

For more information visit the air quality page on the Toi Te Ora website.



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