Adam Bennett

Adam is a political reporter for the New Zealand Herald.

Labour plans free care in pregnancy

Photo / John Borren
Photo / John Borren

Pregnant women would get free dental care, doctors' visits and prescriptions under a Labour Government in a plan to be unveiled at the party's campaign launch.

Labour officially kicks off its election push with an Oscar Kightley-hosted launch at the Viaduct Events Centre tomorrow afternoon.

The Weekend Herald understands a primary healthcare package for pregnant women costing just over $10 million will be one of two policy announcements on the day.

While pregnant women are entitled to some free doctors' visits, they have to pay for non pregnancy-related care including dentists' visits.

Labour's plan is driven by research showing a link between the health of mothers, including oral health, and the wellbeing of their children.

The Weekend Herald understands free dental healthcare for mothers would cost about $5 million a year, free GP visits about $4 million and free prescriptions about $1 million.

The election pledge could heat up the race for young parents' votes, with paid parental leave already an election issue. Labour has said it will extend paid parental leave from 14 weeks to 26 weeks.

In May National's Simon Bridges said the Government would extend paid parental leave by four weeks.

- NZ Herald

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