“ACT is calling on Labour and National to amend the Pae Ora (Healthy Futures) Bill so it creates a better health system for all New Zealanders,” says ACT’s Health spokesperson Brooke van Velden.

“I’ve drafted three amendments that I hope National and Labour will support into law. They would require the Minister to prepare a Rural Health Strategy, a Medicines Strategy, and would remove the establishment of the Māori Health Authority.

“I sent a letter to both parties last week calling on their support of my amendments prior to further debate in Parliament.

“In its current state the Bill is about ideological and administrative reform rather than health reform. It doesn't prioritise workforce training, development, or retention. Administrative reform on its own won't provide another GP down the road, train another mental health nurse, or deliver a midwife to rural New Zealand.

“ACT’s amendments will change the Bill so it improves the system as a whole. A rural health strategy would increase accountability for rural health outcomes, an area that was mentioned more than 80 times in the Health and Disability System Review but isn’t addressed in the legislation.

“A medicines strategy will bring a focus to the important role access to medicines provides in Kiwis’ lives.

“While the Māori Health Authority is an exercise in co-governance that increases bureaucracy and separates New Zealanders based on who their grandparents were.

“When the Bill next comes before Parliament, I hope that the other political parties will join ACT in creating real change and a better health system for all New Zealanders.”