‘‘Vote health should invest in hauora, not exacerbate tensions,’’ Reedy-Taare said.
Green party candidate Metiria Turei said poverty was the leading cause of poor health for whanau Ma¯ ori.
‘‘Of course our kids will get sick with rheumatic fever when you can’t afford to rent a warm dry home, or have to live in a garage. Of course they stay sick if you are too scared about losing your low paid job to take time off to go to the doctor. And sometimes our tamariki don’t survive it - up to 50 children die each year from poverty illnesses.’’
She said the first Greens solution was to increase benefits and wages, so parents could afford decent homes, good food and pay the bills. The second is more hauora Ma¯ ori and primary health care for whanau.
‘‘We have championed a wahakura (a safe sleeping pod) for every newborn to reduce SUDI and we will increase funding for Ma¯ori mental health, given suicide rates for rangatahi Ma¯ ori are so high. Our tamariki deserve better.’’
National’s Andrew Falloon said over the next three years National would continue to grow health funding, delivering better results for New Zealanders and their families. ‘‘Our strong and growing economy allows us to invest more in the health services we need in Canterbury. This year, Canterbury DHB will receive an extra $51 million; in total National have grown health funding in Canterbury by 36 per cent since 2008.
Elective surgeries are up 44 per cent, orthopaedic elective surgeries up 63 per cent, and hip and knee replacements up 70 per cent.
‘‘Mental health is one of our most challenging issues, affecting a large number of New Zealanders. I’m committed to us doing more to help those most at risk. As part of a $224 million increase in mental health funding this year, we’ve established a $100 million fund aimed at finding innovative new ways to help vulnerable Kiwis suffering from mental health issues.’’
TOP’s Olly Wilson, a registered nurse and passionate about retaining quality public health services, said our public health care system had internationally punched above its weight, but was facing urgent and long term challenges. Locally, there had been a substantial increase in mental health illness, he said.
TOP proposed a 10 per cent increase in alcohol excise tax and highly regulated cannabis law reform, generating $450 million that could be directed to youth and mental health services.
‘‘Internationally rising healthcare costs are due to rising expectations, aging population and new technologies. To deliver sustainable public healthcare we must invest strongly into preventative health to decrease chronic illness; currently only 2.7 per cent of our healthcare budget is spent in this area.’’
Act’s Tom Corbett said money was needed for a better health system. ‘‘If we do not grow the economy all we will be doing is rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic; that is more money in health is less money in something else.
‘‘New Zealand must focus on economic growth to insure we keep up with the world in health services and can afford the new and much wider range of drugs and procedures that are becoming available on the world market.’’
Mojo Mathers from the Greens said public health had been systematically underfunded for many years.
‘‘As a result people are not able to access the health support they need.
‘‘The Green Party will prioritise prevention and early treatment. We will ensure that visits to the doctor and prescription charges are free for everyone under 18 and a nurse in every decile 1-4 school.
‘‘We will re-introduce comprehensive health programmes to prevent illness caused by tobacco, alcohol and other drugs and unhealthy food and drinks.’’
They also recognised the importance of access to healthy homes and adequate incomes to improving health outcomes, and would bring in a warrant of fitness for all rental housing and ensure everyone had enough to live on to stay well and healthy, she said.