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Budget 2006: A health budget for all NZ families

Hon Pete Hodgson
Minister of Health

A health budget for all New Zealand families

This year's $750 million of additional health funding represents a major investment in New Zealand families, Health Minister Pete Hodgson said today.

Budget 2006 provides a $3 billion increase to the health budget over four years and funds major new investments in the aged-care sector and historic initiatives in child health and obesity prevention.

"Over seven budgets, the Labour-led government has invested heavily in health and in doing so, has changed the face of health care in New Zealand," Pete Hodgson said.

"We've undertaken the largest public hospital building programme in New Zealand's history, lowered the cost of doctor's visits for all New Zealanders and put our communities back in charge of how health dollars are spent.

"This coming financial year we are spending $10.6 billion in the health sector, $4.2 billion more than in 2000/01, a 66 per cent increase.

"Budget 2006 builds on our successes, but it also recognises that there are major challenges ahead of us in the health sector, and gives us the tools to start addressing them early.

"In aged care, this year's budget delivers a four year spending boost of $126 million. This is a significant investment in the health of older New Zealanders, but it's also one that will help us keep pace with the growing number of people choosing to remain in their homes for as long as possible.

"The child health package we're delivering will provide powerful new tools for the primary health sector with more Well Child checks and a new universal newborn hearing screening programme. It will also allow for major improvements in oral health services for all under-18s.

"I'm particularly proud to be part of a government able to invest heavily in getting ahead of the curve on obesity prevention. Failing to do so could mean seeing our children becoming the first generation to die younger than their parents.

"These are major investments in health that New Zealanders expect from their government. There is a lot of work to do in health over the next three years – I'm pleased this budget has given us the ability to continue to build a world-class public health system."

ENDS

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