Friday, January 15, 2016

Anti-obesity initiative for comes under fire for lack of results

An anti-obesity programme in Christchurch's south-west suburbs has come under fire for a lack of results in the year since it was launched.

Healthy Families New Zealand, the Government's flagship anti-obesity initiative,  was launched in the Spreydon-Heathcote ward in 2014 – one of 10 communities to share $40 million of funding.

In an email released by the Labour Party, governance board member Paul McMahon expressed his disillusionment with the programme.

"They have millions of $$$ and are achieving very little if anything. They have been setup to fail," he wrote.

McMahon – who is chair of the Spreydon-Heathcote Community Board and a member of the Labour-aligned People's Choice group – said he was frustrated after a governance board meeting in October was cancelled due to a "lack of tangible activity".

"There's a whole lot of money to improve the health and well being of the community I represent and I want to see it succeed."

He said he was more hopeful about the direction the programme was taking after a meeting on December 17.

"What I'd like to see is some real partnering with the community board and community organisations that are doing some really good work . . . and seeing how that can be built on for the wider community."

Healthy Families New Zealand was based on an Australian initiative, Healthy Together Victoria, which aimed to address the growing problem of obesity.

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