Investing in New Zealand's critical public services
The Wellbeing Budget continues to invest in the core public services that New Zealanders, their families and communities rely on every day. Because we are managing the Government's books well and prioritising what we are investing in, we are able to meet the needs of a growing population and cost pressures. These investments include:
- District Health Boards – Our DHBs face increasing pressures from New Zealand's growing population. Budget 2019 sets aside $2.9 billion over five years in additional support for our 20 DHBs. This funding is required for them maintain services in the face of the growing population and cost pressures. This funding includes $40 million for PHARMAC which is also highlighted below. There is also additional funding for more planned care (for example, elective surgeries).
- Ambulances – The Government is investing $21 million into our emergency services over the next two years. The one-off funding will relieve immediate pressures and provide certainty while St John and Wellington Free work with the Ministry of Health, ACC and DHBs on the long-term sustainability of their services. This is on top of a $17.2 million increase in operational funding over four years as part of Budget 2019.
- Bowel screening – We are rolling out the National Bowel Screening programme to four more DHBs. This $36 million investment will reduce bowel cancer mortality, increase the proportion of early stage bowel cancer detection, reduce treatment costs for patients and increase five-year relative survival rates for bowel cancer.
- Disability Support Services – We are investing $464.3 million over four years so Disability Support Services can continue to deliver services in the face of increasing demand. This supports 34,000 people receiving Ministry of Health support through Needs Assessment Service Coordination organisations, 7,500 of whom are in residential care. More than 75,000 people receive Environmental Support Services, including equipment like mobility and positioning, hearing and vision support, equipment for daily living and housing and vehicle modifications. This funding will also meet increasing costs of delivering disability support services due a growth in In-Between Travel between clients and the minimum wage increase. In addition, child development services will be delivered to an additional 1,150 children.
- PHARMAC – As noted above, we are continuing to increase funding for PHARMAC, in 2019/20 boosting its Combined Pharmaceutical Budget to almost $1 billion.
- Our schools – We are investing $235 million over four years for early childhood education services, ngā kōhanga reo and schools to maintain quality while meeting the rising costs of resources, services, and staffing, and $296 million over four years to meet the costs of additional children in the system.
- Restoring a Safe and Effective Prison Network – The Wellbeing Budget also invests in New Zealand's prison network to ensure it is safe and effective. Our goal is to ensure that prisoners are held in more humane environments and can be out of their cell longer for more rehabilitation and reintegration activities. These are key foundations to improving wellbeing and reducing reoffending.