Labour promises a National Cancer Agency

Labour is promising all New Zealanders will have access to the same level of cancer care no matter where they live.

It says it will set up a National Cancer Agency, initially costing $20 million, which will develop a national cancer plan if it is elected to government in September.

It is part of its campaign promise of $8 billion of health spending to redress what it calls the National government's $2.3 billion underspend in the sector.

"What really worries me is that cancer care can be a 'post code' lottery," said leader Andrew Little.

People in Auckland had a lower rate of radiation treatment than people in Wellington and those in Northland had a lower rate than those in Canterbury, he said.

"That's not right. It's not fair," Mr Little said.

"It's unacceptable that some cancer patients are waiting six months for CT scans. Australians are more likely to survive than those diagnosed with cancer in New Zealand and Australians have better access to cancer drugs."

The Cancer Society said it's a step in the right direction.

"Equity of access, equity of their ability to recieve support if they do live in a rural area, to be able to attend treatment," said spokesman Mike Kernaghan.

The agency would make a real difference to the 23,000 New Zealanders diagnosed with cancer every year, Mr Little said.

The Cancer Society says it is looking forward to working with Labour to ensure the policy lives up to its objective

NZN / Newshub.