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.  

New Zealand has far too many DHBs.


  • 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.