"One child with foetal alcohol syndrome is one child too many."

Hawke's Bay District Health Board chairman Kevin Atkinson said the latest Budget increase would help target that issue.

He said the Government's announcement yesterday that it would invest $2.2 billion in New Zealand healthcare was more than anyone had anticipated.

In his 18 years in the industry he said it was one of the best he had seen.


He said Hawke's Bay would benefit from about an extra $3 million in funding thanks to the investment.

"That was probably the biggest piece of good news."

He said other initiatives in other areas of government were also important, so for health to get the huge push that it had was particularly impressive.

An announced 10 per cent increase in tobacco each year from 2017-2020, also delighted the chairman.

He said smoking, along with alcohol, were the two biggest causes of acute issues.

"Anything that targets smoking is good."

Also, $12 million had been given to support pregnant woman and expand an alcohol-and-drug support programmes.

"What most women don't understand is that foetal alcohol syndrome is becoming more and more prevalent.

"You can actually have your children born as an alcoholic," he said.

He did not think numbers of those cases in Hawke's Bay were particularly different from other regions and the same stood for cases of bowel cancer.

About 12 months ago the board embarked on a new endoscopy suite. While colonoscopies and similar procedures were currently performed in a general theatre, the suite would open in November specifically for them.

Mr Atkinson said the Government's allocation of $39 million to roll out a national bowel cancer screening programme had come at a good time.

"We set up [the] suite for what might happen in the future.

"We don't know exactly when the programme will come here ... once we've got that implemented in Hawke's Bay we're expecting 15 to 25 more lives per year to be saved."

The chairman said that was an indication he had taken from numbers Waitemata District Health Board had put out from its pilot programme.

He could not give an exact number of how many people were diagnosed with bowel cancer but said he imagined it would be quite an even spread throughout the country.

An unexpected $1.6 billion was allocated in the Budget to district health boards but Mr Atkinson remained tight-lipped about plans on how the board would spend the extra $3 million it would get, saying it had not yet been decided what it would go towards.

Pharmaceuticals was given $124 million to provide access to new medicines, and disability support received $169 million in extra services.

He said the increase for pharmaceuticals was great news but the investment was probably consistent with that expected.

Elective surgery would receive $96 million to increase operations by 4000 a year. Mr Atkinson said that would help with Hawke's Bay's ageing population which was presenting a growing number of cataract and orthopaedic procedures.

"There's nothing that upsets me in this Budget. I think it's outstanding."

The Government also allocated $73 million to primary healthcare, $15 million to support air and road ambulance services and $12 million to improve early access to mental-health services.