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New Zealand appears to be slipping towards third world status when it comes to public health. The contamination of drinking water in Havelock North in 2016, sewage flowing through the streets of Middlemarch in 2018, the escalating obesity epidemic, our ongoing destructive relationship with alcohol – who’s looking out for our public health? Sir David Skegg discusses how attempts to improve public health have been choked off by bureaucratic rivalries, by politics, and by tobacco, alcohol and other industry interest groups.

Prof Skegg was chair of the Public Health Commission until its abolition in 1995. Wanaka GP Dennis Pezaro said that the government “had scuttled the only structure…that appeared to be working effectively to improve the health of New Zealanders.”

David Skegg is an epidemiologist, a public health physician, former Vice-Chancellor of Otago University, former President of the Royal Society Te Aparangi and for more than 30 years an adviser to the World Health Organization. His new book The Health of the People
will be on sale at the venue.