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Cancer is the biggest cause of death in New Zealand. It doesn’t discriminate and most New Zealanders will have a story of loved ones and friends who has been affected by cancer.

That’s why we have announced a policy which would invest an extra $200 million over four years for PHARMAC to fund cancer drugs.

We have committed to introducing a National Cancer Agency to deliver better diagnoses, better access and better treatment for cancer sufferers across New Zealand.

New Zealanders shouldn’t have to pack up their lives and go to other countries for cancer treatment. New Zealanders shouldn’t have to mortgage their houses, set up a Givealittle page or take out massive loans to be able to afford medicines which are funded in other countries.

The agency will be involved in prevention, screening and treatment. New Zealand is a world leader in research and innovation, so the centre will also facilitate research so that in the future we can prevent cancer and treat it more effectively.

It will ensure that no matter where you live in New Zealand you will get the same standard of care. Too often people in regional New Zealand are disadvantaged because they don’t have access to the same services as those in our biggest cities.

We believe that medical experts and clinical professionals should be making the decisions, not Wellington-based bureaucrats. The National Cancer Agency will make sure that happens.

Despite claiming to be a caring and compassionate Government, it only put an extra 1 per cent into PHARMAC for life-saving drugs. That doesn’t even cover inflation. The previous National Government boosted annual investment in PHARMAC by $220m over nine years. That meant around 820,000 New Zealanders benefited from extra investment in new PHARMAC funded medicines.

The Government is spending billions of dollars on fees-free tertiary education, on working groups and on a slush fund for NZ First, it doesn’t have its priorities right.

National’s Cancer Fund is a priority for us because it’s the right thing to do. It will help thousands of Kiwis. Our commitment to a National Cancer Agency will ensure that your address won’t affect your prognosis. We should have a health system that is fair for everyone, regardless of your postcode.

Authorised by Barbara Kuriger, Parliament Buildings, Wellington

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