With just days to go until the Government's 2019 Budget, promises have already been made. There's been an extra $58 million into the forestry sector, $2.2m of provincial growth fund money for youth and young adult initiatives in Kawerau, $200m allocated to housing long-term homeless people in New Zealand and more. This Thursday the Government will announce just how much money they'll put into each sector and for what. Health providers tell Jean Bell what they hope the budget will bring.
Tauranga health leaders have revealed their hopes for Thursday's Budget, with funding mental health and community-based health services high on wish-lists.
Western Bay of Plenty Primary Health Organisation co-chair Luke Bradford said the PHO would like to see several outcomes from the Budget.
"Firstly, we would like to see some meaningful funding targeted at helping Māori gain equity for their health and wellbeing."
Bradford said the PHO would like to see primary mental health initiatives funded to address the findings of the Government's inquiry into mental health and addiction last year.
He said the PHO supported a focus on primary care as a foundation for mental health and addiction treatment, along with more accessible and affordable health services.
The PHO would also like to see funding keep pace with the increased costs of providing primary care services.
He said community-based health services provided better outcomes, but these services required appropriate funding to ensure the practices aren't put under strain.
Ngāi Te Rangi's chief executive Paora Stanley said he would like to see more money dedicated to "innovative" after-hours community health clinics.
He said clinics taking place after 6pm drew an "extraordinary" number of people, many of whom could not afford to go to the doctor or could not access transport during the day.
He also hoped to see a drug and alcohol residential support centre established in Tauranga.
Addiction counselling services, along with help for young men struggling with their sexuality, would not go astray either, he said.
Under the Stars founder Liz Kite called for more help for both those on the ground, helping people struggling with mental illness and people who are mentally ill themselves.
on getting a job and accommodation, and often contributed to a cycle of poverty and addiction.
Bay of Plenty District Health Board chair Sally Webb said early indications were that the Budget would be positive for the health sector overall.
"We will be focused on how we implement the results of the Budget to benefit our communities."