An urgent call to arms for political action on cancer

Sep 13, 2023 | News

CANGO Press Release Cancer Non-Governmental Organisations

Wednesday, 13th September 2023

A coalition of New Zealand’s leading cancer charities, CANGO (Cancer Non-Governmental Organisations) has issued an urgent call to our political parties ahead of the election, to take action on cancer.

Cancer remains New Zealand’s single biggest cause of death and 75,000 Kiwis will be diagnosed with it during the next term of government. Although great strides have been made to improve cancer survival in our country, New Zealanders still face vastly different experiences when it comes to their outcomes and the care and treatment they receive.

CANGO’s election manifesto outlines four critical solutions for the next government to act on, in the areas of medicines funding, clinical research, assistance with travel costs, and healthcare workforce.

“Kiwis deserve world-class health care to improve their quality of life throughout treatment, increase their chance of survival and ensure they can get back to their everyday lives after cancer. But this is far from possible while we face stark disparities in outcomes for Māori and Pacific peoples and those in financial distress, slow, unfair and under-funded access to medicines, critical workforce issues in the health sector without urgent solutions, and a lack of investment in innovation, research and clinical trials,” says Philip Hope, spokesperson for CANGO and CEO of Lung Foundation New Zealand, a member of CANGO.

“Any one of us could develop cancer so these issues are important to all New Zealanders. CANGO members are working hard to solve problems, but the big solutions require political leadership and action. In order for cancer to become a ‘good news’ story, we need our politicians to galvanise around current solutions, like they did for Covid-19, while ensuring we are set up for the future,” Philip Hope adds.

The nine member charities are asking the next government to:

  • Allocate $300 million a year specifically for Pharmac to implement a fast-track assessment and funding scheme for cancer medicines within 12 months;
  • Provide funding of 0.01% in the government’s health budget for clinical research, implement trials NZ-wide and embed cancer research into health sector KPIs;
  • Update and implement a fully-funded National Travel Assistance Scheme that is straight-forward, fair and fit-for-purpose by 2024;
  • Develop, publish and action an integrated workforce plan for all cancers that is future-focussed while addressing urgent needs, ensuring that a lack of capacity or advancement is not causing harm and resulting in unnecessary deaths.

CANGO is an alliance of nine prominent cancer NGOs, formed in 2007 in an effort to increase collaboration among the charities. CANGO members are;

  • Cancer Society of New Zealand
  • Bowel Cancer New Zealand
  • Breast Cancer Foundation New Zealand
  • Gut Cancer Foundation
  • Leukaemia & Blood Cancer New Zealand
  • Lung Foundation New Zealand
  • Melanoma New Zealand
  • Prostate Cancer Foundation of New Zealand
  • Unicorn Foundation New Zealand

These charities work together with NZ’s health agencies and other stakeholders in the cancer sector to reduce the incidence and impact of cancer on New Zealanders and increase survival.


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