Thursday, February 29, 2024

OPINION: ‘National’s cancer plan will end the postcode lottery’

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At the recent National Party conference in Christchurch National leader Simon Bridges outlined National’s plan for cancer care.

Cancer is the biggest cause of death in New Zealand. It doesn’t discriminate and most New Zealanders will have a story of loved ones and friends who have been affected by it.

That’s why National has announced a policy to invest an extra $200 million over four years for Pharmac to specifically fund cancer drugs.

We will ensure those drugs go to those who need them.

We have also committed to introducing a National Cancer Agency to deliver better diagnoses, better access, and better treatment for cancer sufferers across New Zealand.

New Zealanders shouldn’t have to pack up their lives and go to other countries for cancer treatment. They shouldn’t have to mortgage their houses, set up a Givealittle page or take out massive loans to be able to afford medicines which are funded in other countries.

Our National Cancer Agency will be involved in prevention, screening and treatment. New Zealand is a world leader in research and innovation, so it will also facilitate research to help prevent cancer and treat it more effectively.

It will ensure that no matter where you live in New Zealand you will get the same standard of care. Too often people in regional New Zealand are disadvantaged because they don’t have access to the same services as those in our biggest cities.

The previous National Government boosted annual investment in Pharmac by $220m over nine years. That meant around 820,000 New Zealanders benefited from extra investment in new Pharmac-funded medicines.

As the MP for Pakuranga, I hear many personal and heart-breaking stories from my constituents and it’s just not right that Kiwis need to head to Australia or Malaysia for treatment.

The Government is spending billions of dollars on fees-free tertiary education, on working groups, and on a slush fund for NZ First; it doesn’t have its priorities right.

National’s Cancer Fund is a priority for us because it’s the right thing to do and it will help thousands of Kiwis. Our commitment to a National Cancer Agency will ensure that your address won’t affect your prognosis. We should have a health system that is fair for everyone, regardless of your postcode.

  • Simeon Brown, MP for Pakuranga


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