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All Kiwis to have same standard of cancer care

Labour is promising that all New Zealanders will have access to the same level of cancer care no matter where they live in the country, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little.

“As someone who has survived cancer I know how this disease can devastate sufferers and their families. What really worries me is that cancer care can be a ‘post code’ lottery. People in Auckland for example have a lower rate of radiation treatment than people in Wellington. People in Northland have a lower rate of radiation treatment than those in Canterbury. That’s not right. It’s not fair.

“National’s $2.3 billion of underfunding is denying Kiwis consistent care. It’s unacceptable that some cancer patients are waiting six months for CT scans. Australians are more likely to survive than those diagnosed with cancer in New Zealand and Australians have better access to cancer drugs.

“That’s why Labour will create a National Cancer Agency to make sure New Zealanders get consistent cancer care and end the anomalies in treatment.

“The agency will develop a national cancer plan so New Zealanders diagnosed with cancer will have the same access to high quality of cancer care wherever they live. We will develop targets to reduce death rates and we will end this ‘post code’ lottery by making sure there are standard treatments across all our District Health Boards.

“We’ll provide $10 million to establish the agency and another $10 million will be made available to get the work underway.

“The funding will be part of Labour’s reversal of the $2.3 billion dollars of health underfunding over the past eight years.

“We can do this because Labour is making health a priority with $8 billion of extra investment over the next four years. We are committed to ensuring New Zealanders get the world class health care they deserve.

“Voters face a clear choice this election – better health care, or tax cuts.

“Labour’s fresh approach will make a real difference to the 23,000 Kiwis who are diagnosed with cancer every year who deserve consistent treatment no matter where they live,” says Andrew Little.