Whakatau 2023 | Women

Labour will raise breast screening age, develop endometriosis action plan

Labour has announced its women’s manifesto for the election, with a pledge to raise the age for free breast cancer screening, and develop an endometriosis action plan.

Extending the maximum age for breast cancer screening from 69 to 74 would mean 115,000 women aged 70 to 74 years would benefit from the free screening.

The National Party has already pledged to raise the screening age to 74, announcing the policy back in April 2022.

Labour said the policy would cost $48 million over four years, and be funded from money set aside for health sector cost pressures in Budget 2023.

Earlier this year, the Ministry of Health’s women’s health strategy acknowledged endometriosis had a significant health and wellbeing burden impact on an estimated 120,000 women.

Labour said it would develop an action plan to implement endometriosis education and awareness, improve clinical management and care, and support focused research initiatives.

The women’s manifesto also contained some policies Labour has already announced, such as modernising consent laws, and making cervical screening services free between the ages of 25 to 69 years.

Labour’s spokesperson for women Jan Tinetti said: “Labour is committed to creating a more equal society for all women. Every woman should have the opportunity to reach her full potential, regardless of her background or circumstances.

“Our Women’s Package outlines our commitments to women in health, employment, pay equity, financial independence, entrepreneurship, and justice to continue our progress.”

Tinetti said she was “incredibly proud” of what Labour has delivered in terms of women’s health and equality in that past six years.

“From abortion law reform to delivering pay equity settlements for over 150,000 people we are making progress.”

“We’ve supported the introduction of paid miscarriage leave, rolled out free period products to schools across the country, removed abortion from the crimes act, and expanded ACC to cover birthing injuries.”

Tinetti said it was those actions that ensured New Zealand remained a “world leader” in women’s rights and gender equality.