Nurturing a learned and healthy nation

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Thursday, May 19, 2016

Budget Day, May 26, is fast approaching and alongside a key focus on the economy, Budget 2016 will ensure we keep meeting the needs of families in health and education. 
 
Pre-Budget announcements so far include an extra $39 million is being invested in Pharmac for 2016/17, and an additional $124 million over the next four years. Some $11 million will also be injected into Pharmac’s annual budget by district health boards.

Pharmac’s budget this year will be a record $850 million, a $200 million increase since 2008.

The boost in funding will allow the government agency to provide more people with access to new medicines. It also gives Pharmac more options on new medicines it can fund.

Funding medicines that help people live longer and better lives is what Pharmac is all about. 
 
Last year, more than 70,000 Kiwis benefited from 41 new and widened access medicines. One of the drugs Pharmac intends to fund is Opdivo, used to treat advanced melanoma.

We have the highest rate of melanoma in the world, a serious illness that affects about 350 people each year. Other drugs to be funded include treatments for Hepatitis C. They’re a major advancement in the treatment of Hepatitis C, with cure rates of more than 90 per cent. 
 
In Education, an extra 1250 students will get help from teacher aides with a $15.3 million Budget funding increase for in-class support. It will ensure students with a range of learning difficulties can receive support suited to their individual learning needs. 
 
We’ve consistently focused on raising the achievements of all our children, ensuring we’re delivering better education services meeting the needs of every child. This is the second phase of honouring the Government’s commitment to provide teacher aide support to 4000 more pupils with special learning needs. 
 
These young ones don’t always meet the threshold for intensive special needs support, but we recognise they need help to learn and make the most of the opportunities they have at school.

Teacher aides play an invaluable role in our classrooms. They work alongside our teachers to enable students with additional learning needs to become more independent and confident. 
 
That’s how we want all of our people to feel. 
 
Jami-Lee Ross
Member of Parliament for Botany