Today is the day of the Labour Campaign launch. Details are here if you are interested in attending and have not already reserved a position.
Some of the policy announcements have been foreshadowed in the media. Yesterday the Herald reported that there will be extended free care for pregnant women including free dental care, doctors’ visits and prescriptions at a cost of about $10 million. And this morning the Sunday Star Times provided details of further policy initiatives including $90 million to extend the care plus scheme.
There are 190,000 people currently entitled to Care Plus – introduced by the Clark Labour Government to subsidise intensive care for those with chronic conditions, acute medical or mental health needs, or terminal illness – but Labour wants to boost coverage to 440,000 people, providing four free GP visits and free prescriptions.
The extra funding would also see the number of people enrolled in Labour’s ‘Very Low Cost Access’ scheme increase by 50 per cent, resulting in almost two million people receiving free or heavily discounted doctors’ visits.
The remaining extra funding increase would be used to boost maternity services and funding to health organisations, including mental health practitioners.
While we are on the subject of the SST it chose to include in the article negative comments by a young couple interviewed at Auckland Hospital. There is a photo of them with the heading “not impressed” and a comment by them that the money would be better spent on paid maternity leave. Well it seems that this couple has cause to support Labour because it is Labour policy to extend paid parental leave to 26 weeks and the best start policy will provide further assistance to young families. I can understand a young couple not being on top of Labour’s policies but you would expect a leading National newspaper to be careful to not create a false impression by leaving out very important detail.
I am still trying to find out details on the live streaming of the event. I presume it will be on livestream but will confirm as soon as I can.