Leading advocacy group ActionStation is meeting publicly on Wednesday 4 October with prominent health spokespeople from Labour and the Greens to showcase the public support for universal dental in Aotearoa New Zealand.
The group will be handing over the current signatories of its universal dental petition to the health spokespeople for the parties with existing universal dental plans – the Labour Party and the Green Party.
16,677 people have signed the ActionStation / Dental for All petition, calling on the Government to bring “dental care into the public healthcare system”. Labour health spokesperson Ayesha Verrall and Green health spokesperson Ricardo Menéndez March will receive the petition details on Wednesday.
“This is a major outpouring of support for a petition,” says Max Harris, campaigner with the Dental for All coalition based within ActionStation, “and we’re passing over this petition to show the level of public support for universal dental being prioritised.”
The petition was launched in March this year by the Dental for All coalition. Another poll earlier this year, commissioned by the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists, showed 74% of people in New Zealand support universal dental, including 77% of Labour and Green voters, and 73% of National and ACT voters.
“We’re very glad to see universal dental on the agenda this election,” adds Max Harris, “and the surge of support we received for this petition shows that the public recognises that universal dental is good for our health and good for the economy as a whole.”
The Green Party’s plan is to establish a national dental service that makes dental care free for all, funded by a wealth tax. The Labour Party’s plan is to make universal dental available to under 30s as a first step towards universal dental for all.
“After 80 years of dental care being excluded from our public healthcare system, we are excited to see a window opening up to plug this gap in public healthcare, and we want to see the next government grasping this opportunity,” says Max Harris.
The petition will be delivered, along with leading comments from signatories, to Ayesha Verrall and Ricardo Menéndez March on 4pm on Wednesday 4 October in the University of Auckland Quad next to Albert Park (Princes St).