Labour health policy includes lower GP fees

By Mānia Clarke-Mamanu

The Labour Party has launched its South Auckland election campaign with a promise to reduce GP fees. Hundreds of party supporters gathered in Māngere Town Centre to hear leader Jacinda Ardern announce their election health policy.

To South Aucklanders, she's Jacinda the tsunami set to overtake the government.

In her address Ardern said, "You might have heard last week the government say that they want more people to be able to go to the doctor for $18. Under Labour we will bring doctors visits down by another $10." 

From 1 July 2018, Labour says doctors' fees for community cardholders will reduce from $18 to $10 or $8. Youth visits will cost $2. For non-community cardholders, costs will reduce from $42 to $32.

"They always make promises during the campaigning," said one of the gathered, Pā Ariki Upokotini,

"Well, the people do need that. You know if you've got three or four in your family, by cutting it down that will be helpful for a big family. It's a challenge for the other parties. Can they meet that?"

Māngere is a Labour Party stronghold with a high Pacifica and Māori population who have high health needs.

"That's exactly what we need. For a long time, Māori and our Pacific Island relations have had health problems and it is too expensive to get medical help," said Labour supporter, Sarah-Kay Heta-Leituvae.

Despite the great fanfare and feverish support, not everyone gathered was convinced.

National's health policy includes less waiting time, more operations, more doctors and nurses.