The father of a dying man has hit out at the Government for spending millions rehabilitating gang members and building cycle bridges but not caring enough about its people to fund potentially life-saving drugs.
Justin Haigh was diagnosed with stage four bowel cancer in February last year and told he had less than a month to live.
Almost 18 months later he is still fighting - thanks in part to $100,000 of unfunded cancer drugs.
Now it looks like the 35-year-old will have to fork out another $100,000 for six months of a new regime of drugs that could give him more time with his wife and two young daughters.
But were he to live in Australia or the United Kingdom, much of that bill would be covered by the Government and his family is questioning why the same level of funding isn't available here.
Haigh's father John has taken it upon himself to go to the top to plead for funding - not just for his son but for the thousands of other families in his situation.
"You only care about gangs, cycle bridges and millions lost on America's Cup but for the people of this once great country you care zero," he wrote in one of a number of emails to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Health Minister Andrew Little.
Speaking to the Herald he reiterated his criticism of the Government.
"They've been shouting and praising themselves about funding this new cancer treatment that people used to go to Australia to get for $1.6m a year for 40 people and then they give the gangs $2.7m. The gangs haven't been waiting 20 years for it."
For Haigh, aggressive chemotherapy and a 13-hour surgery remove to remove his spleen and gallbladder, part of this colon and rectum and shave parts off his liver and diaphragm helped keep the disease at bay briefly.
But doctors told him a series of unfunded drugs were his best bet if he wanted to see his 2 and 5-year-old daughters start school and learn to drive.
The Hobsonville family have already spent almost $100,000 on four rounds of the unfunded drug Avastin - about $85,000 for the drug and $2000 a fortnight for it to be administered. The family sold possessions including a boat and jetski as well as using donations from a Givealittle page set up by a friend to cover the bill.
The drug had not yet shown the improvement the family hoped for and their oncologist had suggested that, dependant on the latest test results, they try another combination of unfunded drugs.
Quotes for the two drugs, encorafenib and cetuximab, showed it would cost them $103,000 to buy and have them administered for the first six months.
Wife Stacey said it was not a cost they could afford but they would find a way if there was a chance it could save her husband or give the family more time together.
"It's really scary. If something happens and I'm left with the two girls and debt up to my eyeballs there's not going to be much I can do."
Stacey is also questioning whether the Government could do more to at least partially fund more cancer drugs rather than spend money on "random projects like re-doing the Beehive".
"It'd be a lot easier to cope with $2000 a fortnight rather than $10,000," she said.
The combination of encorafenib and cetuximab is funded in the UK and in Australia cetuximab and avastin are funded.
In New Zealand, Avastin and cetuximab for use in very specific bowel cancer cases are on Pharmac's list of 71 drugs it would like to fund when money is available.
However, it is proposing to decline funding for the two drugs for different indications of colorectal cancer.
A Bowel Cancer New Zealand spokeswoman said the organisation had long been pushing for funding for Avastin, cetuximab and Keytruda as a treatment for most bowel cancer patients.
"There have been no drugs funded for bowel cancer in the last 20 years. We are way behind other countries," she said.
Bowel cancer was the country's second biggest cancer killer with 3000 New Zealanders diagnosed and 1200 killed by it each year.
National's health spokesman Shane Reti said he had put forward a bill that could reduce the cost of unfunded cancer medicines by allowing them to be administered in public hospitals.
He also believed New Zealand needed to be benchmarking its drug funding off the UK and Australia to make sure we were putting a comparable amount in and said National would have put $100m more funding in than Labour did in the last budget.
He agreed some of the money allocated to other projects could be better spent funding medicines.
"We're going to restructure the health system for $486m, that would fund for a year every single unfunded medicine on the Pharmac budget, the $785m cycle bridge over the Auckland Harbour would fund every single unfunded medicine for two years, the $2.75m to the Mongrel Mob for the meth rehabilitation would fund half of everything we were putting aside for rare disorders."
Pharmac's director of operations Lisa Williams said the organisation managed a fixed budget and there would always be more medicines than it could to fund, creating difficult choices.
She said new cancer medicines were always being developed but there was often a large cost and limited evidence.
Ardern said John's letters had been passed on to the Health Minister and Little said funding decisions were Pharmac's responsibility.
He said Labour had increased Pharmac's budget by 25 per cent to more than $1 billion since 2017.
"The extra $200 million over four years we committed in the latest Budget will help an estimated 370,000 people alone."
He said the Government had to meet a whole range of demands: "Stopping crime and reducing drug use is also important".