National vs Labour: Health Policy Review

Because I’ll be working on election day, I decided to cast my vote early. The whole process got me thinking that there really hasn’t been much media coverage or scrutiny of the health policies of National or Labour. With that in mind I’ve decided to give it a go:


Labour’s election health policies are lot more broadly targeted and focussed than National’s and include pledges to improve overall health performance rather than list specific sectors where effort will be focussed. The promise of free primary health care for children under six and free dental care for pregnant women may be a big incentive for lower-middle income families, although they are likely to vote for Labour anyway so the impact may be minimal.

  • Free primary health care 24/7 for children under six
  • Free dental care for pregnant women by 2014
  • Greater focus on preventative health care which will recieve the greatest share of funding
  • GST off fruit and vegetables
  • Pledge that all core government will have health impact assessments (more here)
  • Labour will not privatise ACC and will reverse any privatisation of any part of ACC that occurs before the election

National’s health plan has been constructed far more specifically than Labour’s and includes a variety of targets to reach. While National has had success in meeting their election health targets from the last election, this latest batch are both costly and ambitious especially in this economic cliamte. This aside, voters may respond well to the how the pledges have been crafted to be targeted and specific, though the side-show distractions like ‘Tea-gate’ have meant that health has been push to the wayside.

  • Maximum wait for elective surgery to be reduced from six months to four by 2014
  • Increase the number of people getting elective surgery by at least 4,000 a year (more here)
  • Cancer chemotherapy within four weeks of referral
  • Free after-hours primary care for children under six (more here)
  • Increase the training places for medical school students to 200 extra places by 2013
  • Every district health board to have a dedicated stroke unit
  • Roll out a $12 million nationwide rheumatic fever programme targeting vulnerable communities (more here)



4 thoughts on “National vs Labour: Health Policy Review

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