Nearly 40 per cent of Kiwis – or 1.7 million people – will be eligible for free doctors’ visits and free prescriptions under a Labour Government, Labour Leader David Cunliffe says.
“Last year more than half a million New Zealanders didn’t go to their doctor when they needed to because of the cost. A quarter of a million didn’t pick up a prescription for the same reason.
“When people get sick their ability to pay shouldn’t be a barrier to getting good healthcare, which is why Labour is committed to progressively reducing health costs across the board as economic conditions allow.
“Our initial focus is on people with the highest health needs and health costs. Today I am announcing that Labour will make GP visits and prescriptions free for nearly 700,000 Kiwis aged 65 and over, children aged up to 13 and pregnant women, who are currently entitled to free primary care in relation to their pregnancy, but not for other medical needs. Mums to be will also receive free dental care.
“We will also extend and improve the Care Plus programme which supports people with chronic or serious long term health conditions. That means an extra 250,000 New Zealanders will receive an extra four free doctors’ visits each year, along with a comprehensive wellness plan.
“Labour wants to keep Kiwis well. We will do that by providing accessible, affordable and effective advice and care before people get seriously ill, placing an emphasis on public and primary healthcare.
“It is about ensuring all New Zealanders live in a healthy, warm home, that no child lives in poverty and that everyone has the same opportunities in life.
“Our investment in healthcare has been fully costed and is part of Labour’s plan to run a surplus every year and pay off National’s debt.
“That investment will see 1.7 million New Zealanders, or nearly 40 per cent of Kiwis, getting free GP visits and prescriptions. 60,000 expectant mothers a year will also be able to get free dental care.
“Addressing health needs earlier saves money in the long term. Keeping people well through effective public and primary healthcare is the right thing to do for our families and for New Zealand,” David Cunliffe said.
Contact: Simon Cunliffe 021 485 897
Authorised by Hon David Cunliffe, Parliament Buildings, Wellington
To read more about Labour’s health policy, please click here.