National promises $30 million yearly boost to children's dental care

Source: 1News

National is pledging a $30 million boost annually to go towards children's oral health, calling the current children's dental policy "underfunded and not comprehensive". 

National's policy proposal, MySmile (Tamariki Niho Ora), would "provide the resources to ensure children most at need can get the access to quality dental care they deserve", leader Judith Collins said. 

"There are currently 120,000 Kiwi kids on dental waiting lists," she said. "By providing a targeted intervention in childhood we can provide lifelong benefits to our kids’ health.

"This investment will also provide savings to individuals in the long run as they will require fewer expensive dental procedures."

Currently, New Zealand children are entitled to free basic oral health services from birth to 17 years old. 

National's policy states that the system already in place giving free dental care for children in New Zealand is often is not comprehensive, "especially for the formative pre-school, primary school and intermediate years".

"The system is not performing well with New Zealand children having poor oral outcomes," it says. 

According to the latest round of data from TVNZ’s  Vote Compass  tool, the majority of New Zealanders think the Government should fund dental care for adults who have lower incomes.