Last week Taranaki — King Country MP Barbara Kuriger presented a petition to Parliament's Health Select Committee with the aim of reversing this Government's "neglectful approach to rural healthcare".

"My petition asks the Government to accurately measure rural healthcare needs while imploring Health Minister David Clark and Rural Communities Minister Damien O'Connor to provide adequate funding for these needs to be met," said Barbara.

"Currently the Ministry of Health doesn't even have proper population data for Rural New Zealand, so there is a considerable mismatch between what is needed for these areas and what is being provided.

"An example of their rural funding shortfall is the decision to decline further funding for Rural Health Alliance Aotearoa New Zealand.

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"They play a vital role in providing rural communities with mental health support and advocating for rural health services. Without them in this space there is no one sticking up for these areas.

"The funding requested from the Rural Health Alliance is a pittance when compared to other wasteful spending by this Government. It clearly illustrates their lack of thought for rural New Zealand.

"Defining the term 'rurality' is a vital step in ensuring rural communities are adequately resourced by government in vital services such as healthcare, and the bulk of this work has been done by organisations such as the Rural Health Alliance in the past few years.

"The ongoing work done by this organisation is immensely important and the support of my petition from more than 600 people highlights this.

"I strongly urge the Government to re-evaluate their decisions and give rural communities the support they deserve, and adequately resource these organisations so that this incredibly important work can continue to be done."