Prime Minister Bill English has announced that the general election will be held on 23 September 2017. Health policy will, as is always the case in the lead up to an election, be hotly debated by all parties. While the Government and opposition parties have yet to formally announce any new health policies as part of their broader election campaigns, policy areas of interest may include:
- For the Labour Party; childhood obesity, health spending, improving access to GPs and elective surgery, and fluoridation of drinking water
- For the Green Party; mental health, a sugar tax, funding for support for children with disabilities, and access to GPs for young adults
- For New Zealand First, tobacco taxes.
The contentious issue of access to medical cannabis was also looking likely to be an election issue. However, the recent announcement by the Associate Minister of Health that decisions on the prescribing of cannabis-based products will now be delegated to, and made by, Ministry of Health officials rather than the Minister, may take the focus off this issue.