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Source: Green Party

The Green Party is today promising to make dental care free for everyone in Aotearoa.

“The time is now to make dental care free for everyone and to pay for it with a fair tax system,” says Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson. 

“Right now, oral health is a luxury few can afford. Every year millions of people put off going to the dentist because it is too damn expensive. The average cost of going to the dentist is around $350, so it’s hardly surprising that with food, rent, mortgage repayments, and power bills going up, so many people are choosing not to go. 

“Problems then, of course build up. People spend their lives in agony. It is heartbreaking to think that the situation gets so bad for some that they are taking pliers to their own teeth in a desperate attempt to fix problems that have spiralled out of control.

“Let’s be clear: the current dental care system in Aotearoa is broken and cruel. This hasn’t happened by accident, but is the consequence of political decisions successive governments have made to exclude dental care from the public health system. This has got to change. 

“Under our plan, everyone in Aotearoa will be able to visit the dentist when they need to through a new community-based New Zealand Dental Service, which will also provide emergency and complex dental services through local hospitals or specialist sites. 

“The Green Party will finally end the indifference successive governments have shown to dental care and guarantee everyone the dental care they need, when they need it,” says Marama Davidson. 

Green Party co-leader James Shaw added:

“It should not be the case that in a wealthy country like ours there are hundreds of thousands of people who cannot afford to go to the dentist, even for a basic check up. 

“Dental care for adults in Aotearoa is now among the most expensive in the world. Unbelievably, we have a higher rate of unmet dental care in Aotearoa because of cost than even the United States.

“Seventeen years ago, the former Prime Minister Helen Clark expanded dental care from our youngest children to everyone aged 18 and under. The time is now to finish the job. 

“Free dental will be fully funded through fair and simple changes to the tax system that will unlock the resources we need. Every dollar will come from those most able to contribute.

“Our fully costed plan will give everyone the peace of mind that no matter what, they can visit the dentist when they need to,” says James Shaw.