Topics: Health, Politics

Cancer Care top priority for Labour Party

By Talisa Kupenga

The Labour Party promises to help kick cancer through an $8 billion investment into health if elected, with a National Cancer Agency, world-class cancer care and equal standards of care for all Kiwis no matter where they live. So what does this mean for Māori given their higher incidence and mortality rate when it comes to The Big C?

After kicking cancer Labour Leader Andrew Little wants to help other Kiwis do the same.

Labour Leader Andrew Little says,  "The money is there now you don't have to pinch it from anywhere, you don't have to raise taxes what you have to do is make some serious choices."

For $20-million a National Cancer Agency will be established to set care standards, address DHB inequities, develop targets to reduce death rates and determine how best to reach those in more rural areas.

Labour Health spokesperson Dr David Clark says, "Overseas it's been shown to work that if you set credible targets and you resource the sector appropriately you actually do get drops in cancer rates."

Cancer survivor Dene Ainsworth says for Māori just getting to the GP is difficult, especially for men or those living remotely.

"[It's] not just the cost of seeing the Doctor but the actual cost of travelling to the doctor and also for men, in particular, our tane we're very staunch about our health and unless it's really serious as in our arm is falling off we won't even bother going." 

Maori are more likely to die from cancer than any other population. Maori men have a 30 percent higher incidence rate of cancer, for Māori women, it's 40 percent.

Dr Clark says, "We can do much better across all groups, I would also expect we would have a survey on un-met need that will look with Treaty goals in mind across NZ for healthcare generally to ensure that we are closing those gaps."

The exact details will be worked out alongside specialists and the agency group within the first 100 days of Labour in government.