Healthy Families Waitākere has spoken to a packed-out Kelston Community Centre at the invite of local Members of Parliament.

Health Minister David Clark, Te Atatū MP and Transport Minister Phil Twyford, Kelston MP and Disability Issues Minister Carmel Sepuloni and New Lynn MP Dr Deborah Russell hosted the Health in West Auckland meeting on March 26.

During the meeting, Phil Twyford invited Healthy Families Waitākere chair, Sport Waitākere CEO Lynette Adams, to speak to the audience about the role Healthy Families plays in important prevention based measures by supporting community leadership for better health and wellbeing outcomes.

Lynette also asked questions to the panel on the health and wellbeing of West Auckland, particularly around the saturation of fast food outlets in the area and the importance of improving active transport.

Dr Clark answered the question about what Government could do to help change the current food environment due to the abundance of fast food outlets. He talked about challenging leaders within the food industry to address change but also improving incomes across society.

 “People will choose what food they eat to some extent but also it has to do with one’s income and some can’t afford the nutritious foods they should be eating,” he said. “Having adequate incomes is a part of the puzzle.”

Phil Twyford responded to the need for improvements to active transport and how it can improve congestion in West Auckland. He discussed solutions with the Government investing in public transport and upgrading cycling and walking infrastructure.

“We know through public health data that people who use public transport are healthier because they walk to the bus or home from the train station. Building better infrastructure to walk or cycle helps build a more liveable community.”

A free workshop involving key people and organisations around public and active transport will be held at the Waitākere City Council Chambers on April 6.