# 16-2022 Community Advisor News

Kia ora koutou,

Let’s maintain that healthy focus on wellbeing especially as the year races to its completion!  Check out the following wellbeing section to help you achieve a healthy balance.  There is lots of information to sift through in this update from permanent half price travel for community services card holders through to medicinal cannabis clinics, so there should be something of interest for most people.  Finally, if you are stuck for Christmas gift ideas then buy an Entertainment membership, it’s a great gift and will support the work that we do in the community 😊.


Take care and Meri Kirihimete



From the Mental Health Foundation and Te Whatu Ora

It’s often the simple, everyday things that can bring us the most joy and create lifelong memories. This summer, why not explore all sorts of ways to boost your wellbeing, connect with the people you love, and try something new? Click on any tile below to discover the activity behind it, then give it a go! You can also download or order the printed poster and tick off the activities with whānau and friends as you go along.




This recipe sounds inviting, wholesome and hearty:

Warm Beluga Lentil Salad with Smoked Tofu | Overcoming MS



Tips for a better nights sleep | Southern Cross Health Insurance


Managing summer heat

Heat Sensitivity | Multiple Sclerosis Society of NZMultiple Sclerosis Society of NZ (msnz.org.nz)




Half priced travel for Community Services cardholders

From 1 February 2023 Community Services Card holders are eligible for a continued 50% discount on public transport. The discount is part of the Community Connect programme announced by the Government in Budget 2022.  More information will be available in the New Year, including how you can apply for the discount on prepaid travel cards.  Free off-peak public transport continues to apply for all SuperGold cardholders.  (Fares for all people will continue to be half price on all Metlink buses, ferries and trains until 31 January 2023, this also includes He Ratonga Tekehī the Total Mobility service)

More information about the Community Services Card can be found here:

Community Services Card - Work and Income


Medical alarms - Work and Income

If you currently get or need a medical alarm, you may have the option to get a medical alarm that works outside of the home as well as in-home. On 1 December 2022, the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) introduced 'anywhere' medical alarm services. MSD may be able to cover the costs as part of your Disability Allowance.  You’ll need to apply if you want to include an in-home or an anywhere medical alarm service in your Disability Allowance. This process includes seeing a medical practitioner and contacting one of our accredited medical alarm suppliers


Find out more about the changes by visiting the Medical alarms page on the Work and Income website.

Medical alarms - Work and Income

 The Disability Allowance and Dental Assistance

The Disability Allowance is a financial support that’s available at a weekly rate of up to $70.04 a week. It’s paid to eligible clients to help with ongoing health and disability-related costs. You can read more about the Disability Allowance including whether you are eligible here:



Changes to dental assistance

From 1 December 2022, the Ministry of Social Development updated the Special Needs Grant for dental treatment.

The key changes include:

  • up to $1,000 through a Special Needs Grant can be used for dental treatment in a 52-week period. This is an increase from the previous amount of $300 in a 52-week period.
  • criteria for treatment through the Special Needs Grant is expanding from ‘emergency’ to ‘immediate and essential need’. An outline of what is and isn’t considered immediate and essential is on this dental treatment page.
  • you can get more than one payment within a 52-week period, up to a total of $1,000.

As an example, if you got help with a $300 Special Needs Grant for dental treatment in July 2022 and you had an immediate need for essential dental treatment you could apply to receive up to $700 from 1 December 2022. From July 2023 you would once again be entitled to up to $1,000 for an immediate need for essential dental treatment



Fracture Liaison Services (FLS)

Fracture Liaison Services (FLS) operate across New Zealand and aim to make the first fracture the last. Funded by the ACC, FLS are teams of clinical nurse specialists who identify patients over the age of 50 years who have sustained a fracture and work with them to start treatment as soon as possible. If you’ve recently fallen or tripped from a standing height and think you would benefit from visiting a FLS, ask your GP or search to see if there is one in your area.  More information can be found here:



Kiwi Access card

The Kiwi Access Card is an easy and convenient way to help you access goods and services, especially if you do not hold a driver licence and/or passport. If you do not have a New Zealand driver license or passport, you need someone who can prove you are over 18 and some other form of identification, like your birth certificate.  If you want to apply for a Kiwi Access Card but struggle to get to your nearest or NZ Post shop or AA Centre, you can now apply online. The digital application process provides a secure and innovative platform. All new card applications cost $60.

Kiwi Access Card (18+) - Apply for evidence of age and identity card


Medicinal Cannabis clinics

A number of people with MS are using medicinal cannabis to alleviate some of their symptoms including, spasticity, pain, and insomnia.  We have had some enquiries about medicinal cannabis clinics.  To follow are some options for you to research if you are interested:

Cannabis Clinic – Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch locations -telehealth and online consults https://cannabisclinic.co.nz/

CannaPlus – Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch locations - Wellington (In-clinic and Telemed)  75 Taranaki Street, Te Aro, Wellington https://cannaplus.co.nz/

Green Doctors – Auckland based, phone or online consults https://greendoctors.co.nz/


Opportunities for Women

Women of Worth

Women of Worth is a charitable organisation and is here to provide ways, founded on personal worth, for women in Aotearoa, New Zealand to make the changes they desire in their lives.


Women of Worth provide programmes and services for women to understand their inherent worth, identify their strengths and abilities.  They encourage and support them to overcome challenges, and make positive lasting changes in their lives, to their own benefit and that of their tamariki, whānau and communities. 


The “Move up Programme” commences 8 February 2023 for 9 weeks in Lower Hutt – see attached flyer Flyer Lower Hutt Move Up Programme and this website for more information.

Women knowing their worth and living their best lives (wow.org.nz)



MS Australia – MS Development and Vitamin D

A ground-breaking clinical trial has found that vitamin D supplements do not prevent MS development in people at high risk. MS Australia look at what the researchers discovered, the questions yet to be answered and what these results mean for people living with MS.

MS development not prevented by vitamin D supplements in people at high risk - MS Australia


Vitamin D and MS is a really interesting and evolving field and can become quite confusing on what the best therapeutic approach is.  We suggest that you talk to your medical team in the first instance to ensure the right approach is taken for you.


Testing vitamin D

This can be worthwhile and your GP can order a lab test, although funding is more restricted on this test.  Another option that a client recently informed us about is purchasing a self-test kit online via Life Pharmacy for around $50.  We have not researched the accuracy of the self-test kits so again; it is advisable to discuss with your medical team.




COVID-19 update

Unfortunately, COVID-19 is surging again which is the nature of this virus. As case numbers continue to steadily climb, the reinfection rate is also increasing. For most people, reinfection with COVID-19 is not likely to be more severe than previous infections. But you can experience different symptoms. In addition, every time you get COVID-19, it increases your risk of getting long COVID and other medical issues so safe practices such as vaccine boosters and masks are recommended.


If you test positive for COVID, contact your GP or Healthline on 0800 358 5453.  For welfare support phone 0800 512 337. They can help you with food and essential items.


Anti-viral treatment

Anti-viral treatments for COVID 19 are designed to minimize the symptoms of COVID and shorten its duration. They also can help reduce transmission of The COVID virus.  For this anti-viral medication to be effective you must start taking it within the first 5 days of getting symptoms.  To be eligible, people must either have symptoms and test positive, or have symptoms and be a household contact of a case.


Antivirals can be prescribed or supplied without a script from some pharmacists.  It is also worth noting that if you are at risk of becoming very unwell with COVID-19 you may be able to get a prescription before you get COVID-19.  Just talk to your GP, Pharmacist or Healthline for more information.



Pharmac lobbying

At the August 2022 meeting of PHARMAC's Pharmacology and Therapeutics Advisory Committee, MSNZ made a submission in support of the funding of Siponimod (Mayzent) for Secondary Progressive MS (SPMS).  The submission highlighted the supporting evidence for the use of Siponimod for those with SPMS and recognition of the severe unmet health need. However, there is still substantial work to be done to progress the recommendation higher up the priority list.  You can read the full update here:

Update: Siponimod (Mayzent) for Secondary Progressive MS | Multiple Sclerosis Society of NZMultiple Sclerosis Society of NZ (msnz.org.nz)



OMS diet – Friday 9 December, 9.30am UK time

As we all know, healthy nutrition and diet is important for good physical and mental health.  If you’d like to dive deeper into the OMS diet for MS management, you can link into a webinar tomorrow.

Join OMS Medical Advisor Dr. Jonathan White as he talks to NEU Senior Research Fellow Dr Steve Simpson-Yap about his research into diet and MS.  Steve will present his latest work and discuss the evidence around diet in MS more generally, followed by a Question & Answer session where you can put your questions to him.

Webinar Registration - Zoom


To access any previous OMS webinars recordings or handouts, you can view them here:

Past webinars | Overcoming MS


A reminder that MS Auckland has a series of interesting and informative webinars that can be viewed here:

Webinars - MS Auckland (msakl.org.nz)


Christmas gift opportunity

Buy an Entertainment membership

A perfect gift that will be appreciated by all. If you purchase an entertainment membership through this link then MS wellington receives 20% of the purchase price. If you have never used an entertainment membership before – it is a voucher/card system that gives you discounts at many restaurants and food outlets, activities, movies etc.

Wellington Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society (entertainmentnz.com)


MS Community Advisor service over the holidays

Our team is taking a well-deserved break over the festive season.  Our office closes on 21 December 2022 and reopens Monday 9 January 2023. MS Support groups start back in February.


Please note that we do not provide an urgent or emergency service.  If you need this level of service, you can contact your GP, phone Healthline on 0800 611 116, visit your Emergency Department or phone 111 in the event of an emergency.  For free phone counselling by qualified counsellors, phone 1737.


Until my role has been replaced, covering Hutt Valley clients, phone 04-388 8127 for assistance and leave a message or email info@mswellington.org.nz

Please be patient as it may take a little longer for someone to get back to you.


It has been a pleasure and a privilege working with you.  Thank you, take care and go well.


Ngā mihi nui,



Gillian Fry

Manager & Lead Community Advisor