KEY HEALTH ANNOUCEMENTS:
• Health budget delivered $200m more for Pharmac, and the first tranche of money for the health reforms.
• $46.7 million more for primary health care, such as GPs.
• Almost $500 million for the first stage of the Government health reforms.
• $2.7 billion over four years for DHBs, $675m more a year.
• $700 million for capital projects, such as hospital buildings.
• More funding for adult cochlear implants
• SCRAPPED: Free annual GP visits and eye checks for SuperGold card holders.
The Government's $36.6 million spend to help tens of thousands of New Zealanders quit smoking by 2025 has be labelled a "bold move" by one advocacy group.
Over the next four years, that money will be directed to health promotion and social marketing campaigns to support the Smokefree 2025 goal.
ASH director Deborah Hart applauded the new funding, saying it was a bold move that showed the Government's commitment to tackling the Smokefree 2025 goal.
She said 60,000 smokers needed to quit each year if the country were to achieve the goal. That's up from 20,000 currently quitting.
"Helping Māori, Pacific and poor people to quit will make a huge impact in reducing inequality as well as ensuring we meet the Smokefree 2025 goal."
Every day, 12 Kiwis die from smoking cigarettes, that's 4000 each year. It is the leading cause of preventable death in Aotearoa New Zealand.
Aotearoa Vapers Community Advocacy (AVCA) co-director Nancy Loucas said it was great the Government wasn't tempted to hike tobacco tax as it tended to hit the most vulnerable the hardest, and made little difference to the high Māori smoking rate.
"One missed opportunity in this Budget was that no extra funding was specified to support 'vape to quit' programmes and the Government's latest Smokefree 2025 reboot."
But she said the new centralised health structure provided an opportunity to turbocharge the national Smokefree 2025 target.
Loucas said Britain's similarly centralised National Health Service (NHS) had been an "effective catalyst" for switching smokers to vaping.
In England alone, nearly three million adults now vape – backed by Public Health England ruling it's 95 per cent less harmful than smoking, she said.
"The NHS has been a real champion of smokers quitting tobacco by vaping, and they're not shy about it. A recent high-profile initiative, for example, sees all smokers given e-cigarette 'starter packs' when they're discharged from an emergency department. It's that kind of unilateral leadership that can make a difference," Loucas said.
About smoking in New Zealand:
• Since 2000, cigarette smoking has caused about 100,000 deaths.
• About 1 in 8 adults smoke cigarettes daily; among Māori, it is 1 in 3.
• On average, cigarette smokers consume 10 cigarettes a day (costing $6500 a year).
• People smoke cigarettes for the nicotine, but die from the smoke from burning tobacco.
• Cigarette smoking imposes huge financial and health burdens on the poorest New Zealanders: in the poorest fifth of the population, 1 in 4 adults smoke.
• Cigarette smoking is a key driver of inequality. The most wealthy group of people have already reached the Smokefree 2025 goal. The poorest cigarette smokers are caught in a cycle of poverty.
• The Government receives $2 billion in revenue from taxes on cigarettes. The poorest 40 per cent of New Zealanders pay 66 per cent of the tax.