Green Party urges Labour to go further on addressing inaccessible dental care
3 October, 2023
By Olivia Bing
The Labour party has made an election promise of providing free dental care for under 30 year olds if re-elected. But the Green Party is calling on the government to go further, extending free dental care free to everyone in Aotearoa.
Earlier this year, a Talbot Mills poll commissioned by the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists found that the high cost of dental treatment is stopping about three-quarters of adults from visiting a dentist when they need it.
According to the same poll, more than 7 out of 10 adults in New Zealand support bringing dental care into the public health system.
Green MP Golriz Gharaman told 95bFM's The Wire that the high cost of dental care has gone unaddressed by Labour and National, with change being difficult, as people “have accepted this as a given.”
Gharaman argued that disparities in the accessibility of oral health care are “clear, and unfair”.
"Who decided that the mouth is excluded from public health? This one area is privatised and extremely expensive."
“You shouldn't be in crisis or experiencing hardship before you can access the public healthcare system. We don’t say that about any other type of check-up."
To pay for their free dental for all policy, the party would increase tax on the 0.7% wealthiest New Zealanders.
“It is not right that 300 people in New Zealand sit on an enormous amount of wealth and pay less tax than nurses and teachers. That’s not a fair system.”