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Health problems hit us everywhere from the head to the heart to the teeth, and that means a range of services. In the public health system, most services are free or subsidised. Amid advances in technology and increasing life expectancy, however, pressure on the health dollar is high.

what the parties will do about

Mental Health

NZ’s suicide rate is among the highest in the world, especially among young people. While nearly half of New Zealanders will experience mental illness or distress at some point in their lives, many go without services or treatment. There are growing calls for urgent action of one kind or another.

what the parties will do about

Alcohol and Drugs

Drinking causes a lot of illness, injury, violence and other harms. But many NZers like to drink or use recreational drugs. Internationally, the tide has been turning on cannabis prohibition, and some parties want change here too.

what the parties will do about


Some think of healthcare as being free in NZ, and it is, at least compared to countries like the US. But users do pay a contribution to, for example, doctors fees and prescriptions, while specialist treatment isn’t always free. What you can get also depends a lot on where you live — increasingly, some services are only available in the main centres.

what the parties will do about

Public Health

Drinking, smoking and drug-use cause a lot of health problems and expense for the taxpayer, and have long been in the government’s sights. And now there’s obesity too.