Primary Care and Services

New Zealand First believes in ensuring quality healthcare for all New Zealanders. That is why we are proposing a suite of policies that help equip communities with the resources they need to improve health standards. Through doing this, we can address some of the longstanding health issues in our country and improve patient health. New Zealand First believes that policies must help address problems at their root, while adequately resourcing our public health system so it can handle the stress of future health problems.  


  • Expand free dental care through a yearly free check-up, x-ray and clean for 18 - 25 year olds, Community Service Card holders and Super Gold Card Holders to halt preventable dental disease. This would be funded and provided at community based dental facilities rather than overloading hospital services
  • Continue to implement certain recommendations of the Health and Disabilities System review except that halving the number of DHBs is not an adequate response to ensure equity of access for all New Zealanders without using poor Māori health statistics to advocate for separatism.  New Zealand needs no more than 7 DHBs while having regard to the serious geographic isolation of the West Coast where a separate DHB is warranted.  The remaining 6 DHBs should be population-related to the remainder of the South Island and for all the North Island.
  • Engage with the sector stakeholders to ensure that a complete stocktake of paramedic equipment, staffing and services to ensure that they are fit for purpose across the country.
  • Introduce top sliced funding for paramedic equipment and infrastructure to bring it up to an agreed standard for all regions. This includes the training and skill mixing of paramedics to provide a wider provision of first responder services across the country
  • Allocate funding to settle longstanding paramedic pay disputes and also encourage paramedic training
  • Expand the range of services delivered in general practice (including allied health and mental health services).
  • Incentivise DHB and hospital-based services to support community medicine and general practice, which will facilitate the move to functioning as one system
  • Rework the capitation model to reflect ethnicity, complexity, comorbidity, and age
  • Discretionary DHB funding to be bulk funded with long-term certainty so practices can plan and direct services to the needs of their unique patient population, with a focus on proactive and long- term care.
  • Ensure that the additional DHB funding announced in the 2020 Budget is, at a minimum, proportionally allocated to community based medical care
  • Fund mobile health buses to take specialists and specialist services to the people
  • Incentivise more General Practitioners to become Rural GPs by an adequately funded GP capitation formula that takes into account social determinants including rural isolation.
  • DHB’s take responsibility to provide primary care staff (rather than just fund) for rural practices with staffing shortfalls with shared urban-rural GP’s.
  • Fund capital development of community medical facilities and fund new technology within practices to facilitate virtual care.
  • Universal vision screening by trained optometrists for year 5 and year 6 primary school students, and, for those who need it, a follow up full eye exam and to be fitted with glasses as required
  • Provide mental health programme ‘Gumboot Friday’ with $10m over three years to go toward administering and delivering free counselling services for young people.
  • Support ASH (Action for Smokefree 2025) in their policy to divert tobacco and cigarette smokers to much safer products, as in Japan, and stop attacking the low-incomed with exorbitant taxes ($2 billion) whilst claiming to support Smoke-Free by 2025.

PHARMAC and Medicines

New Zealand First recognizes health as a critical and essential investment that reflects how New Zealand values its people. The existing inequalities in terms of access to healthcare, clinical outcomes and long-term care are unacceptable and the health system must ensure that all New Zealanders are treated equally. Access to conventional, natural products and dietary supplements must be enhanced while also meeting the same clinical standards to ensure an efficient health system. Investment into health is more important now than ever as COVID-19 has highlighted the failures in both our underfunded public health systems and profit driven private health systems in their treatment of the crisis. 

A recent Medicines New Zealand report found that New Zealand ranks last out of twenty comparable OECD countries for access to modern medicines. Too many of our medical experts have expressed concern at Pharmac having only one supplier of a medical product.  In contrast the Australian model is assessment-led, it is not based on costs, finding the cheapest supplier of one single brand, as New Zealand does.


  • Establish a transparent annual medicines budget that includes new investment in community and hospital medicines to meet the OECD average of up to 1.4% of GDP by 2023. This new investment includes establishment of a specific rare disorder medicines fund of $30 million per annum
  • Fund new Diabetes medicines which have been proven to reduce the negative side effects that diabetics experience
  • Establish a clear and transparent process with a 1-year timeline for technical review (health technology assessment) by the Pharmacology and Therapeutics Advisory Committee (PTAC) of medicines and establish a 90-day time limit for PHARMAC assessment of new medicines after a positive technical recommendation from PTAC
  • Increase funding for Arthritis early intervention programmes to develop awareness and education workforce programmes for treatment and management of arthritis.
  • Establish a $100 million rapid access scheme for innovative medicines 
  • Major clinical conditions to be funded for further research and investment to ensure they are managed effectively include Arthritis, Crohn’s, Colitis, Diabetes, Dementia and Depression.
  • Establish a $50 million new medicines industry development partnership programme to match industry investment in local R&D, data analytics, manufacturing.
  • Support the redevelopment of a New Zealand based pharmaceutical manufacturing industry
  • Establish a New Zealand quality standard for New Zealand manufacturers and exporters in the Natural Health industry and other stakeholders to ensure that there is an appropriate regulatory regime for complementary medicines.

Accident Compensation Corporation

New Zealand First believes that the Accident Compensation Corporation is a state responsibility and should be maintained as such. We oppose any concept of privatisation, although private providers may be contracted in selected areas of treatment or retraining at the discretion of ACC. We will strongly oppose any attempt to undermine the scheme.


  • Investigate legislative changes to free ACC from strict requirements when considering income when paying compensation for victims of serious crime
  • Review the operations of dispute processes at ACC to ensure that claims are client centred and resolved within a timely manner
  • Amend rules for victims of serious crime and those who have ongoing life debilitating injuries from having to continually supply documentation to ACC for their annual compensation and entitlements
  • Ensure that ACC contributes to Kiwisaver when workers are receiving weekly compensation 
  • Amend the way backdated compensation is taxed so claimants are not subject to pay tax at a higher rate when receiving lump sum payments. 
  • Review the changes to the work-related gradual process test for injury cover 
  • Ensure the Dean Report recommendations regarding the cost to review are lifted to address the barriers to review for those on modest incomes 
  • Amend legislation so that ACC claims can be challenged in the Supreme Court 
  • Provide certainty to claimants by ensuring that review decisions are enforceable
  • Update and review the list of Occupational Diseases to provide financial support to those who have been exposed to carcinogens through their work and have developed cancer as a result
  • Require ACC to recognise occupational cancers among Firefighters