On 31st March 2021 NZHR’s Chief Executive Chris Higgins appeared before and presented its submission on the Government’s Budget Policy Statement (BPS) 2021 to Parliament’s Finance and Expenditure Committee. In our oral submission we expressed some cynicism that the 2021 budget appeared to be a predetermined “done deal”, observed that the 2021 wellbeing framework has regressed from and is a diluted version of the one that was set out in the 2020 BPS, expressed concern that the 2021 BPS is silent on the fiscal impact of the forthcoming health system reforms, implored committee members to escalate to Cabinet before it’s too late the need for health research to be embedded as a core component of the health system when considering recommendations for implementing the findings of the Health and Disability System Review, pointed out the that the BPS fails to highlight the importance of R&D investment as a key contributor to New Zealand’s recovery and future economic growth, and said that this was acting as a handbrake to increased investment in health R&D.

Committee members acknowledged that we had made a powerful submission, agreed that a commitment to health research was important, and said that despite NZHR’s cynicism submissions including ours were taken seriously and did have the ability to impact the final outcome of the budget. We felt heard. We’re now hoping that we will have made a tangible impact.

NZHR’s oral and written submissions can be read here