Budget Great for Wairarapa
There was some great news for the Wairarapa in the 2016 Budget.
The National Government's commitment of an additional $2.2 billion to the health sector over the next four years will ensure New Zealanders continue to have access to high-quality healthcare.
Wairarapa residents will be first off the block to be screened in the national bowel cancer screening programme.
This programme will save lives. About 3000 New Zealanders are diagnosed with bowel cancer each year. The Government is committed to better access to early detection and treatment. We know that if the cancer is detected early there is a high probability the patient can be treated successfully.
The colontesting technologies have continued to improve over the years. There are new tests that are less intrusive and easily executed that enables early detection to take place.
Having the screening here in Wairarapa is a huge win for our communities. The extra $39 million allocated to Pharmac in this year's Budget is another example of our investment in health. Pharmac will now be able to provide more New Zealanders with access to new medicines.
These medicines include Opdivo, a drug used to treat advanced melanoma, an important new drug that many Wairarapa people have discussed with me and lobbied for over the past 12 months.
Pharmac is also proposing to fund two new treatments which will benefit up to 25,000 patients with hepatitis C. Both drugs are a major advancement in the treatment of hepatitis C, with cure rates of more than 90 per cent. To pay for these new medicines and technologies, we need to have a strong economy.
With an economy forecast to grow at an average of 3 per cent over the next few years, we will see more jobs and higher incomes. A growing, wellmanaged economy produces more tax and so enables the Government to fund initiatives like the new medicines and cancer detection programmes.
There is good evidence here in Wairarapa of economic growth.
You only have to look at how many real estate "sold" signs are going up, and more building activity is obvious.
Across the country, over 200,000 more people are in work now than three years ago and another 170,000 new jobs are expected by 2020. Over that period, the unemployment rate is expected to drop to 4.6 per cent and the average wage is expected to increase by another $5000 to $63,000. New Zealand is a wonderful country to live, work and play in, and the National Government is working hard to ensure it stays that way.
"New Zealand is a wonderful country to live, work and play in, and the National Government is working hard to ensure it stays that way."