Work underway to address antimicrobial resistance

Hon Dr Jonathan Coleman

Minister of Health

27 April 2017

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman and Food Safety Minister David Bennett have welcomed steps to enhance New Zealand’s ability to respond to the growing global issue of antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

“Like other countries, New Zealand has seen a rise in antibiotic resistant infections and it is important that we develop a clear plan to reduce AMR,” says Dr Coleman.

“Antimicrobial resistance occurs when microorganisms such as bacteria and viruses change in ways that render the medications used to cure the infections they cause ineffective.

“While resistance develops naturally, a range of initiatives from everyday tasks such as hand hygiene through to education, surveillance, and restrictions on prescriptions and the use of antibiotics and antimicrobials will help prevent resistance.”

As part of a global response the Ministries of Health and Primary Industries have today jointly published ‘Antimicrobial Resistance: New Zealand’s current situation and identified areas for action’ to respond to the changing pattern of antimicrobial resistance in New Zealand.

The report highlights five key objectives which include improved awareness, understanding, as well as prevention and control measures. The report also highlighted the need for better data about antibiotic consumption in New Zealand.

“As well as the health dimension, AMR is also a well-recognised threat to veterinary and agricultural practice,” says Mr Bennett.

“Animal products generate around $24 billion per year in exports, so this is a risk that our country must take seriously. It’s why these two ministries formed an AMR Action Planning Group which produced this situation report.

“The report builds on work already undertaken by MPI and the Ministry of Health to help manage the risks associated with AMR.

“Tackling AMR requires a one-team approach from a diverse group of experts. It includes scientists, veterinarians, infectious disease experts, microbiologists, GPs and specialist nurses.”

The report is available on the Ministry of Health website,

Media contacts:
Angela Kenealy 021 220 0129 (Minister Coleman)
Audrey Malone 021 191 9568 (Minister Bennett)


Last updated: Thursday, April 27, 2017

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