A key Labor Party dental health pledge during the election has been dropped in order to pay for its sweeping $ 486 million restructuring in the health sector, National Health spokesman Dr Shane Reti said.
The Labor Party promised New Zealanders during the 2020 campaign that it would increase the amount people could claim for an emergency dental grant from 2021. But no funding for that pledge has been allocated in the budget.
“It is incredibly disappointing that the government has chosen to once again break a promise to New Zealanders. In fact, there is nothing for oral health care in this budget at all despite Labor campaigning on the issue during the election, ”says Dr Reti.
“National took up the Maoridom oral health challenge in Waitangi last year and campaigned for a $ 120 million preventive dental health program for all primary school children.
“The budget shows where Labor’s priorities really lie. It is more focused on centralizing decision-making and adding more layers of bureaucracy in Wellington than on improving the health of New Zealanders.
‘Draft budget documents released to the National suggest Labor is already considering cutting back specialist services in rural hospitals and changing the eligibility of New Zealanders looking to access disability services to save money . It is only a matter of time before they too are cut off to pay for the restructuring.
“Every dollar this government wastes trying to centralize the health care system is a dollar that is not available for cancer drugs, for our nurses or for surgery.
“The budget should have spent more money on improving the health of New Zealanders, not taking it away to pay for bureaucracy.”
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