The Green Party will make dental care free for everyone.
Our health and wellbeing relies on healthy teeth and gums - and everyone should have access to the dental care they need to thrive and participate fully in society.
For decades, successive governments have chosen to exclude dental care from the public health system. Dental care is now so expensive that 40% of people go without the care they need. For Māori, it is even worse.
This is a political choice - and different choices can be made.
Right now, millions of people are putting off going to the dentist because it is too expensive. The average trip to the dentist currently costs $353 - which is about 40% of the weekly income of someone earning the minimum wage. It is no wonder then that more people in New Zealand skip going to the dentist because of the cost than even the United States of America.
The consequence of delaying a trip to the dentist, or not treating problems with our teeth or gums, can be life-changing. In most cases, the issues could have been prevented with a trip to the dentist.
In Aotearoa, we choose to resource our public health services because we recognise that everyone deserves to be looked after. We already make sure children under 18 years old can access free dental care.
The time is now to extend that care to everyone. The Greens will establish the New Zealand Dental Service.
The Green Party will make dental care free for everyone - and we’ll pay for it with a fair tax system.
The New Zealand Dental Service will provide:
- Free annual check-ups and cleanings available to everyone
- Free basic dental care, such as fillings, sealants, and extractions for anyone who needs them
- Mobile dental vans and funding for community dental clinics, including marae, so no one has to travel long distances to look after their teeth.
Our plan also includes:
- By Māori-for-Māori dental health services through additional funding to the Māori Health Authority
- A plan to train the next generation of dentists. We will meet the increased demand for dentists by lifting the cap on training placements.
We will pay for it with a fair tax system.