Wellington, December 16, 2019
Good health is important to New Zealanders young and old, no matter where they live. It’s one of the things that’s universal, a marker of quality of life.
Our health system is strong by most measures, but National believes it can be better.
Most people, most of the time, are able to access care but under this Government, wait times have increased and more people are missing out.
It is not good enough.
New Zealand’s population is both growing and ageing, and Kiwis need a government with imagination and ideas about how to tackle the health challenges we face, whether it is cancer, arthritis, dementia, or even just more babies being born.
National’s Health Discussion Document, released last week, sets out how we can do more, and better.
Targets are important. They focus resources and improvement on measurable outcomes that benefit all New Zealanders.
Setting targets means being ambitious for New Zealanders and focussing on continuous improvement.
You can see the results with immunisation.
Under National, a focus on targets resulted in vaccination rates that were improving in our time in office.
Immunisation rate falls
Since this Government came into power, rates of immunisation have gone down and New Zealanders have grappled with a measles epidemic.
We can also see the influence of targets in elective surgeries numbers.
Elective surgeries are your hip replacements, your cataract surgeries – or even something as lifesaving as an organ transplant.
These are operations that drastically improve quality of life for hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders each year, and National made those a priority.
Performance under National
Every year National was in government, the number of elective surgeries taking place increased, but in the past year, that number decreased by 6000, the first decrease in more than a decade.
Not only that, this Government has stopped publishing data on elective surgeries.
It is hardly the open and transparent government we were promised.
National will reinstate targets so that more New Zealanders can benefit from access to healthcare each year.
Funding for medicines has stalled under Labour too.
More funding to Pharmac
In Budget 2018, there was no additional funding for PHARMAC, and in Budget 2019, the $10 million appropriation did not even cover inflation.
By comparison, National increased PHARMAC funding by an average of $24 million every year we were in government.
In that time, more than 800,000 New Zealanders benefitted from better access to medicines.
The next National Government will restore PHARMAC funding and maintain it.
We will ring-fence funding for medicines that treat rare disorders which currently struggle to be approved now because they impact small numbers of people, and we will establish a cancer drugs fund specifically to ensure access to lifesaving cancer medicines at $50 million per year.
We will also improve maternity care and pay for midwives, so we can attract and retain more of them so that new mums have the best care, and we will improve support for seniors so they can live independently for longer.
Quality healthcare assured
We are committed to ensuring there is quality healthcare available for New Zealanders of all ages, and that no matter what you need care for, be it cancer, dental care or a rare disorder, the resources are in place to support you.
But we cannot do any of that without a strong economy. With a strong economy, we can invest more in health and deliver care for more New Zealanders.
We are doing the work in Opposition now; so, we are ready to hit the ground running in 2020. Please give us your feedback on National’s health proposals at
Dr Parmjeet Parmar is Member of Parliament on National List based in Mount Roskill, Auckland. She is the Party’s Spokesperson for Research, Science and Innovation and Associate Spokesperson for Economic Development.