Wednesday, June 26, 2024

John MacDonald: It should be Labour apologising to cancer patients

When I was off sick last week, I was crook enough to need to see a couple of doctors. And I’m very glad Chris Hipkins wasn’t one of them.

Because, if he had been and if he was true to the noises he’s been making about the Government’s big cancer drugs announcement yesterday, then he’d probably spend all his time apologising to me for taking too long to work out what was actually wrong with me.

Which I wouldn’t give two hoots about as long as I knew what it was that was making me crook and how I was going to get better.

And I’m picking that’s how most cancer patients and their families will be feeling today, with the Government confirming more than $600 million will be going to Pharmac to fund around 26 cancer treatments.

Do you think the people who are going to benefit —and their families— are going to quibble over the timing?

If you’re expecting me to pile into the Government —like Chris Hipkins and Labour have been since yesterday’s announcement— then maybe you don’t know me as well as you think you do.

Because, if I wanted to, I could very easily say that the Government is just doing what the patron saint of Prime Ministers used to do back in the day - this is Sir John Key I’m talking about. If I wanted to, I could very easily say that Christopher Luxon is just doing what his old mentor did back in the day, and he’s just using the cancer money to take our attention off other stuff like ferries breaking down.

I could say that. But I wouldn’t mean it. I’d just be saying it.

Just like I could say that the Government’s only coming up with the money for the cancer drugs now because it’s listened to the old talkback focus groups and realised —after the fact— that it dropped the ball not including it in the Budget a few weeks back.

I could say that. But I wouldn’t mean it. And I wouldn’t believe it.

What I do believe, is that the Government has done the right thing and who cares about the timing?

And if you want a less sugar-coated description, let’s bring-in medical oncologist Chris Jackson who told Newstalk ZB that the cancer funding announcement is “an excellent outcome from a terrible process”.

But again, so what?

Because all of us, we have all known someone to varying degrees who has been affected by cancer.

Next month, it’ll be 25 years since we lost dad to cancer. Mum’s had her own cancer scares. Someone else in the family had a brush with it last year.

So this is something that affects all of us and will be of benefit to many of us. And that’s why I think Chris Hipkins is being miserly and why I think he’s only doing what he’s accusing the government of doing - playing politics with cancer.

In fact, I remember when he was in government and his party had the chance to splash the cash on cancer treatment, and it didn’t. I remember it distinctly. It was a couple of Budgets ago and a bunch of cancer survivors made the trip to Wellington expecting a big spend-up on cancer drugs.

And what happened? They left town bitterly disappointed that only half the amount they expected was in the Budget. That was when Labour decided it was better to spend the money merging our public media companies.

But Chris Hipkins seems to have forgotten about that.

John MacDonald is the Canterbury Mornings host on Newstalk ZB Christchurch. - where this article was sourced.


Anonymous said...

John, firstly, next month raise a drink to your dad....never forgotten.

Please keep up the good work. We all agree with you- how labour can stand there with a straight face and criticize is just a joke. They have proven their incompetence and failed in EVERY aspect. Infact basically if labour had done the absolute opposite of what they implemented they would have been successful, instead they are known as the worst govt in this countries history.

Anonymous said...

What about all the people who died of cancer because they weren't diagnosed or treated during the lockdowns. Then all the people who didn't get treated because they weren't Maori, under Labour's apartheid health system. Then there was Labour's doctor and nurses shortage, as Labour preferred to spend the health budget on spin doctors and rebranding to try to convince voters they were doing a good job.