Labour failing New Zealand women

2 February 2023

Labour failing New Zealand women

Reports that New Zealand’s breast cancer screening programme has failed to meet its target for the third year in a row is putting New Zealand women at risk, National’s spokesperson for Health Dr Shane Reti and spokesperson for Women Nicola Grigg say.

Data from the National Screening Unit shows just 65 percent of eligible women were being screened, short of the 70 percent target.

“Health Minister Dr Ayesha Verrall has been responsible for breast screening over the past three years, and she has failed to deliver. This reaffirms that despite a new leader it is the same Labour team that can’t get anything done despite spending more money,” Dr Reti says.

“Instead of focusing on life-saving screenings and treatment, Labour has chosen to spend $486 million restructuring the health system.  

“Healthcare in New Zealand is going backwards under Labour. Emergency wait times and wait times for specialists and doctors are at record levels, and there is a crippling shortage of doctors and nurses.

“National will focus on providing more front-line staff to ensure lifesaving tests and treatments can go ahead,” he says.

“Breast cancer is the most common cancer for New Zealand women, with one in nine women being affected by it in their lifetime. It is appalling they are missing out on this life-saving test,” Ms Grigg says.

National has already announced it will extend free breast cancer screening for those aged up to 74 years if elected to government.  

The current breast screening age in New Zealand is up to 69 years which is five years behind other countries such as Australia, Canada and the US, who all screen up to 74 years.

“This change will keep New Zealand up with international best practice and will have the potential to save up to 65 lives per year,” Dr Reti says.

“If the current Government does not make this change to save the lives of women across New Zealand, then a National Government will,” Ms Grigg says.