A petition calling for the Government to set up an independent cancer agency has arrived at Parliament as pressure mounts on the Minister of Health to take action.
Southland dad Blair Vining started the petition after being told to wait eight weeks for an "urgent appointment" with an oncologist and collected about 150,000 signatures.
An independent body to address cancer rates was a Labour Party policy during the 2017 election and Vining says it would allow treatment standards to be set without political interference.
National Party leader Simon Bridges, on Vining's behalf, today wheeled out a suitcase filled with signatures and letters to Parliament's steps.
"We're out here in solidarity with him," Bridges told reporters.
"Blair's view is that creating that National Cancer Agency would provide the better treatment, the consistency, so it doesn't matter what post code you're in New Zealand."
However, Bridges would not commit National to setting up the agency if it got back into power.
"We are thinking those things through," he said.
"But I can tell you that if we promised it prior to the election we would keep that promise."
Changing the cancer care system was the 10th item on Vining's bucket list, after he was diagnosed with terminal bowel cancer in October.
He handed the petition to Clutha-Southland MP Hamish Walker at a "living farewell" party for friends and family in June.
"It was a really moving night," Walker said on Thursday.
"He's an incredible guy. Southland's very proud of him."
Vining's petition will be presented in the House on Thursday before being considered by the Health Select Committee.
Meanwhile, Health Minister David Clark last month received a draft proposal for a long-awaited Government plan to tackle cancer - which kills 9500 Kiwis a year.
But he has yet to give a date for when the strategy will be announced or say what it will include.
Clark in Christchurch on Thursday told reporters he had no update.
"I expect to make announcements on that in coming weeks," he said.
"We've heard from people who are suffering from cancer that they want this to be right and that's what we're focused on."
However, he recently said he had reservations about setting up an independent agency to address cancer.
"One of the downsides of looking at an agency is having a separate organisation that's not as well connected to Central Government and not able to be as directed," he said.