Helpline 0800 650 659 continence nz

Letter to Political Parties

At the end of September NZCA sent a letter to the leaders of all the political parties. There is a copy of the letter below and also the responces that we have received so far.

All the political parties were sent the same letter and had the opportunity to responded but there are a few that have chosen not to. 

Copy of the letter

The NZ Continence Association is the national peak body that represents the 600,000 New Zealanders that suffer from incontinence. Urinary and faecal incontinence are very distressing conditions and many New Zealanders live with this every day.

We think the leaders of all political parties should say that incontinence is a major issue for New Zealanders. It is a very important health issue and should be given a high priority for public spending because of the impact of the ageing population. The parties that form the next government after the November general election must make incontinence a more important issue.

We would appreciate your party’s response to the issue of the poor funding and low priority of urinary and faecal incontinence as a statement of 500 to 700 words, by 21 October 2011. The responses will be published on the NZ Continence website at, in the NZ Continence Association newsletter, and through the Carers Alliance network organizations (46 NGOs) and their regional branches. In this way your party’s policy will be promoted across the health sector, as many clinicians and health professionals deal with continence in their patient relationships.

We attach the media release sent to MPs in June during our national public awareness campaign this year. The release highlights that the total financial cost of incontinence $8 billion and projected to increase with time as 1 in 4 New Zealanders will suffer from incontinence by 2030. The full report this media release refers to is available at our website and is essential reading for all MPs.

The important questions for the leaders of all New Zealand political parties are:

How will you and your party, if part of the next government after November 2011

1. Guarantee equitable access to a high standard continence services for all District Health Board Regions?.

2. Advocate for a national continence strategy that will improve awareness, promote prevention and management strategies for continence, and support for the national continence helpline?

We thank you in advance for this information about your party's response to our election information request for health professionals. Responses can be emailed to faxed to 09 2360788. Party logos and leader photos will be published with responses.

A response from the party leader will show New Zealanders how your party provides leadership for the important problem of incontinence, a problem that spans nearly all health areas and is a social issue affecting employment and economic productivity.

Please contact us if you need further information.


Jan Zander

CEO, NZ Continence Association



Will National guarantee equitable access to a high standard of continence services for all District Health Board Regions?

National will continue to provide the same services to patients dealing with incontinence.

District Health Boards are funded to respond to the needs of their population, and I am advised DHB’s are responding to the needs of their patients.

Health Benefits Ltd recently undertook a new procurement process for purchasing of continence products, where they worked with sufferers to ensure they were happy with the products chosen for all 20 DHBs. They have kept the same choice of products for consumers.

National will continue to monitor the needs of incontinence sufferers to ensure they are receiving the services they need.

Advocate for a national continence strategy that will improve awareness, promote prevention and management strategies for continence, and support for the national continence helpline?

Incontinence is a problem that affects many people suffering from many different conditions. And each person has their own unique situation.

We will continue to support incontinence sufferers, and the healthcare professionals, managing their individual circumstances.

Authorised by Tony Ryall MP, 184 Devonport Road, Tauranga 



New Zealand First believes Incontinence is an important issue which affects a great many New Zealanders, and potentially will affect a great many more as our population of older people grows.

New Zealand First is fully aware of the inequities in terms of funding towards services and products across New Zealand. For example those living in Hamilton will receive a far larger supply of incontinence products than those living in Auckland due to their coming under the jurisdiction of different Health Boards. This is unfair and often leaves individuals left to pay for extra products, which can be expensive, particularly for people who are beneficiaries, which most people in need are. We would support an equitable funding system that means each New Zealander in need of incontinence products is treated equally across the country and receives sufficient products for their requirements.

We also understand that there are only selected products that are able to be acquired and that there are better quality products available than those currently issued. We believe that other products such as ‘Cavilon’ should be funded, as they minimise any physical discomfort or harm, and lengthen the life of the incontinence product. We believe a more holistic approach should be taken to funding, services and products. Each person should be assessed and provided with adequate resources based on their individual need.

We believe there is a need for a national continence strategy that will improve awareness, promote prevention and management strategies for continence, and we fully support the national continence helpline.

As you know we have always been strong advocates for our elderly and disabled New Zealanders, and we know this issue is important to them. All New Zealanders should have access to good quality health services that enable them to lead comfortable, healthy and productive lives. We have always firmly believed that health expenditure should not be a balance sheet item when it concerns the care and welfare of New Zealanders.

In order for us to lobby for more equitable and practical funding initiatives we know we need to work closely with organsations such as ‘New Zealand Continence Association’ and other groups with an interest in this area. We need to listen to New Zealanders who deal with this health concern everyday of their lives, but above everything else we need the New Zealand voting public to give New Zealand First their party vote so we can fight for change. WE WIN! YOU WIN!

The Right Honorable Winston Peters.



Investing in the health and well-being of New Zealanders will be a priority for a Labour-led government. Labour wants to ensure that we give everyone the opportunity to live a healthy life and that requires a range of policy responses across portfolios.

In terms of direct expenditure on healthcare this has been and will continue to be a major priority for Labour. The current government has effectively cut funding for Health by failing for two successive Budgets to give enough money to keep up with the increasing costs of delivering services and the changing demographics, particularly in terms of an ageing population. We will continue to focus on ensuring universal, equitable access to health services while continuing to provide special attention and resources for vulnerable and disadvantaged groups.

The core of a health system that is dedicated to creating healthy populations is good public health services. Public health focuses on preventing illness and supporting wellness by providing information and support to make healthy decisions about their own lives. Labour believes we need to invest in measures that keep New Zealanders healthy, and avoid the need for expensive interventions further down the track. Being healthy does not start in a doctor's office or in a hospital. It starts with keeping people healthy in our communities.

Labour believes that the Government can and should play a leadership role in encouraging people to be physically active, because of the benefits that brings at an individual level and the health dollars it will save at a national level. If elected to Government, Labour will make a priority programmes and campaigns to reduce obesity, improve nutrition and increase physical activity and we will bring the focus on physical activity back as part of our Health policy.

Labour acknowledges the 600,000 New Zealanders that suffer from incontinence and we support initiatives that will improve awareness, promote prevention and management strategies for continence. We also want to recognise the many parents and family members for the role they play in caring for those that suffer from incontinence. Labour believes the government needs to work with those who suffer from incontinence and their families to identify the correct balance of care and support that which is best undertaken by family members and that which is best done by other agencies, and fund that accordingly.

Labour’s inquiry into Aged Care, entitled “What the Future Holds for Older New Zealanders,” outlined how the shortage of skilled staff has led to high rates of neglect, including stories of residents not being toileted regularly, resulting in incontinence. If elected into Government, we will work with the Ministry of Social Development to standardise a nation-wide contracting model for Elder Abuse and Neglect Prevention Services to ensure consistency of access of service provision across the country. Labour will also establish a Technical Working Party to investigate all recommendations of our inquiry which includes establishing a Government-funded national training pathway for all staff in residential and home-based care that is linked to the National Qualification Framework and recognised in pay negotiations.

Labour’s response is from Grant Robertson, Labour’s health spokesperson


Progressive Party Response (click here)

Authorised by Metiria Turei and Russel Norman, Parliament Buildings, Wellington


Green Party response to NZ Continence Association policy questions

How will you and your party, if part of the next Government after November 2011:

>Guarantee equitable access to high standard incontinence services for all DHBs?

>Advocate for a national continence strategy that will improve awareness, promote prevention and management strategies for continence and support for the national continence helpline?

The Green Party commends the NZ Continence Association for its commitment to advocating for the needs of those living with incontinence.

We do not have specific policy on the issue of incontinence. However we appreciate that this is a distressing condition for those living with it, and that the provision of extra services and support for those affected is a high priority for the Association. We also agree with the assessment that this issue will affect a growing number of New Zealanders, due to our ageing population.

1. Guaranteed access to high class incontinence services through all DHBs

We support local decision-making in setting priorities and managing our health services, with a role for the Ministry of Health in ensuring that District Health Boards are meeting national health policy objectives and goals. We would consult widely with sector groups in determining these priorities.

We would also require each DHB to develop a process of community meetings and other forms of strategic dialogue in which the public can have input into the level of funding they wish health care services to receive, the priorities they support for this funding regarding the illnesses and conditions treated, and the range of treatments offered. This means that stakeholder organisations such as the Continence Association will be able to have a greater input into decisions regarding treatments and funding, at a regional level. 

2. National Incontinence Strategy, awareness and prevention, support for helpline

The Green Party’s health policy has a strong focus on public heath and health promotion. This Government has cut funding for public health, not only in real terms, but in actual dollar terms (this year by 14%). We would increase funding for health promotion and illness prevention to 10% of the health budget. 

There are numerous public health issues that would benefit from awareness and prevention programmes, and so a proposal to fund an incontinence programme would need to be carefully assessed alongside other needs. However, we certainly see the merits of such an initiative, and increasing the size of the funding pool would increase the likelihood of such a programme being funded.

If we were to be a part of the next Government, we would welcome the opportunity to work with the Association and further discuss your proposals.

Thank you for your letter and your interest in our policy.

Kind regards,

Kevin Hague

Green Party Health Spokesperson



Thank you for the opportunity to address the New Zealand Continence Association. Unfortunately the ACT Party does not have a specific continence policy.

However, the ACT Party believes that healthcare is of vital importance. We believe that individuals should be able to have more control over their own healthcare to ensure that it fits their own needs. In the light of this, it is important that we ensure that all New Zealanders have enough money to pay for their own day to day healthcare needs, including comprehensive health insurance. This will encourage health providers to provide value for money and services that patients want. It will put power in the hands of the patients. The ACT Party’s policy will help those, like the people represented by your association, to be able to tailor their healthcare to their own needs.

More information on ACT’s healthcare policy is available at


Susan Arcus

EA to Dr Don Brash

Leader, ACT New Zealand 


Chief Executive Officer

New Zealand Continence Association

DRURY 2247


Maori Party 

Tçnâ koe Jan i ngâ âhuatanga o te wâ

Thank you very much for your letter requesting a response to some questions you have for the leaders of political parties regarding New Zealanders who suffer from incontinence.

The Maori Party believes that continence services should be provided by District Health Boards in New Zealand and they should be fair and equitable. I am aware that continence services and access to continence supplies vary widely from region to region and I support the call from the New Zealand Carers Alliance for a strategic approach to continence.

I would also like to see more done to boost awareness of this condition so that whanau members are able to feel comfortable seeking treatment and to know that they are not alone in their situation.

Heoi anô

Hon Tariana Turia

Co-leader of the Mâori Party