September 04, 2023
Māori big winners in free dental policy
Health Coalition Aotearoa says Labour’s plan to make free dental care available for people under 30 should put a smile on the faces of many Māori.
Co-chair Lisa Morenga says Maori who make up 40 percent of those who can’t afford dental care.
She says the under 30 cut-off is realistic, pragmatic and cost-effective.
“For Maori and Pacific whanau, our age class distribution means we do tend to be younger and if we can get in and make sure teeth in our 18 to 30s are as good as they possibly can be, that will set them up for better teeth on their older age,” she says.
While Labour’s likely coalition partner the Greens say they want universal free dental care now, Professor Morenga says that will need a lot more dentists.
As part of the policy, Labour promised to increase the number of dental training placements by 50 percent, and it will also try to recruit more dentist from overseas in the short term.