“Three quarters of respondents in NZHR’s latest poll say that the government should invest more funding in health research, and 35% say that they would be more likely to vote for a party which promised to increase the government’s health research budget” said New Zealanders for Health Research (NZHR) Chief Executive Chris Higgins, commenting on the results of the latest NZHR opinion poll.

“Kiwis – the ‘team of five million’ – highly value health research but are being failed by a health research system which is underfunded and disconnected from the health system” said Mr Higgins

“The government’s 2020 health research allocation is a meagre 0.76% of health care costs – less in percentage terms than the 2019 allocation, and falling. Furthermore the Health and Disability System Review report makes no recommendations that would embed health research as an essential component of health service delivery, despite the fact that 12,000 New Zealanders per year are dying prematurely” said Mr Higgins

Mr Higgins said that the poll indicated that three of the top ten priorities for government focus relate to ‘looking after our health’, with kiwis ranking health research more highly than improving education standards and outcomes, helping the environment and addressing climate change.

“Having experienced the powerful impact of the health research led response to the Covid 19 epidemic, which potentially saved tens of thousands of lives, we believe that kiwis will have a heightened appreciation of the value of a health research led response to redesigning New Zealand’s health system. We call on all political parties contesting the 2020 General Election to produce election manifestos which take health research seriously and respond to what voters are saying”

In other poll results 80% said it is important to do research to make our health system more effective and efficient, 79% said it is important to do research on finding vaccines for new infectious diseases such as Covid 19, 78% agreed that a vaccination will be a safe and effective way of preventing people from catching Covid 19, 44% said that they were at least somewhat well informed about health and medical research in New Zealand, 72% said that they would be willing to participate in a clinical trial of a new medicine if they had a condition it may be able to treat, while a concerningly low 53% said that they were willing to share personal health information to track illness and disability and causes (down from 72% in 2019)

The poll was undertaken by Kantar in late May, a few days after both Budget day on 14th May and the commencement of Covid 19 level 2 lockdown, about a month before the release of the Health and Disability System Review report and nearly four months prior to New Zealand’s 19th September General Election.

For further information, requests for interviews and a copy of the poll report contact NZHR chief executive Chris Higgins on 027 292 8433 or [email protected].

NZHR advocates for increased investment in health research. It is an alliance chaired by Graham Malaghan, of the Wellington-based Malaghan Institute of Medical Research and supported by universities, clinical research organisations, and organisations representing both the philanthropic and pharmaceutical industry sectors. For more information visit https://www.nz4healthresearch.org.nz/