New Zealand First celebrates Coalition Government action on cancer

Jenny Marcroft MP, Spokesperson for Health

New Zealand First is today welcoming the Coalition Government’s announcement of a Cancer Control Agency to administer the new 10-year Cancer Action Plan, a $60m boost to PHARMAC, and confirmation that the extension of free breast screening to those aged 70 to 74 is a priority action for the Government.

The Cancer Control Agency will deliver the new Cancer Action Plan, focused on reducing cancer incidence and improving cancer outcomes in New Zealand. The agency is to begin work immediately, with Professor Diana Sarfati announced as its interim director.

“We have some of the highest rates of cancer incidence in the world. This is exactly the kind of focused government action that will ensure Kiwis living with cancer have the best possible outcomes,” says New Zealand First Spokesperson for Health Jenny Marcroft.

An extra $60 million in funding was also announced for PHARMAC to make a wider range cancer treatments available. As a priority, PHARMAC will also undertake work to ensure its funding decisions are faster and more transparent.

“We have listened to heartfelt submissions in the Health Select Committee from cancer sufferers and survivors, calling for extra funding for PHARMAC and greater speed of decision-making. Today, we begin that journey,” says Ms Marcroft.  

New Zealand First is also proud to see the extension of free breast screening to those aged 70 to 74, which was secured in coalition negotiations, enshrined in the action plan as a priority for the Government.

“New Zealand’s breast screening programme has resulted in a reduction of approximately 30 percent in breast cancer mortality for women. There is evidence to suggest the extension of the programme to women between 70 and 74 will also have beneficial impacts on mortality rates, which is why we made it a priority during negotiations.

“New Zealand First stands with cancer sufferers and their loved ones calling for better, more timely treatment. There’s much more to do, but today, the Coalition Government took the first step in that direction,” says Ms Marcroft. 

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