13 Jun 2019

National Party seeks feedback on rural health policy proposals

3:04 pm on 13 June 2019

A mobile health clinic, a new visa for primary industries and toughening biosecurity penalties are among the policies National is proposing if they get into government.

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Photo: RNZ / Diego Opatowski

The discussion document, released at agricultural event Fieldays, includes 23 ideas and proposals open to public feedback, to help shape the party's policies for next year's election.

National wants to pilot mobile health clinics, which would travel regularly to rural communities to do general health checkups.

National Party rural communities spokesperson Matt King said it was important people who lived far from hospitals still had access to modern healthcare.

"This initiative will make a tangible difference to those in isolated areas who too often simply ignore potential health warning signs because of their busy lifestyles and the lack of convenience," he said.

To address worker shortages, the party wants to introduce a primary sector visa.

National immigration spokesperson Michael Woodhouse said a solution was needed now.

"Farmers and growers are crying out for skilled labour but there isn't enough workers to meet demand.

"Many are experiencing serious implications of food rotting because of a lack of labour stifling growth and will have to downsize," he said.

National is also looking to raise biosecurity penalties and give Ministry for Primary Industry officials the power to immediately deport those who are found to knowingly conceal concerning items.