With just one week 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. Next Thursday the Government will announce just how much money they'll put into each sector and for what. The Rotorua health sector is hoping for a slice of the pie. Sector experts tell Samantha Olley what they hope the budget will bring.
Across the health sector, hopes are high for increased resourcing and funding in this year's Budget.
In pre-Budget announcements, the Government has put $12 million into combating rheumatic fever in the Auckland region, and almost $40m into ambulance services.
Ministers have indicated there will be a big focus on mental health in announcements to come.
Lakes District Health Board chief executive Nick Saville-Wood said funding to meet the needs outlined in New Zealand's mental health inquiry would be extremely helpful.
"What we are trying to do is look at how we design the models of care so that we deal with the mild to moderate, and things don't escalate into more severe cases."
Rotorua counsellor Sue Wilson said in her opinion there needed to be a huge boost in funding for access to all counsellors, because publicly-funded services were not meeting demand.
"I struggle with charging people who are in need ... People are desperate. I find it really sad that we are in this position.
"It is great that so many employers help fund counselling for their staff, but if people don't have that, and they can't access government-funded counselling and they can't afford private counselling, they have to go without."
Wilson was formerly a high school teacher, before training in counselling, and said there needed to be two counsellors in each high school, and at least one in each primary school.
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She said these changes would help reduce New Zealand's suicide rate.
Meanwhile, Aroha Mai Cancer Support founder and manager Bubsie Macfarlane said services on the ground like hers received some funding, but heavily relied on donations, volunteering and grants.
"There is a lot more we could do if we had more paid staff."
She said cancer created a lot of extra work and financial pressure for whānau, which her small team tried to help with.
"In some cases, people can't find someone to drive them to radiation because they all need to work, or they don't have the money for petrol. That's where we step in.
"A lot of these people have children, mortgages, and jobs, and all of a sudden their income and functionality is gone, and they find themselves going to Work and Income. It's a huge stress, and some even end up trying to work when they're sick."
A spokeswoman for Tatau Pounamu, health and social services in eastern Rotorua, said community initiatives that had proven to be effective should be supported to expand.
"For example, the Piripoho initiative - providing free healthcare to tamariki and whānau in the home."