Budget 2024: Devastated patients react to Government's broken cancer drug funding promise

While tax relief is on the way for more than 80 percent of New Zealand workers, cancer patients are devastated to discover promised funding for much-needed treatment has been axed.

The Government confirmed its long-anticipated policy in Thursday's Budget:

  • People who are earning about $62,000 will get an extra $25 per week
  • Higher earners on $150,000 a year will get $20 a week
  • Minimum wage earners - working 40 hours per week - get $12.50
  • A retired person relying solely on the pension will only see an extra $2.25
  • And the price tag for all this is $3.7 billion per year.

The Government said the tax cuts are fully funded but, overall, it's borrowing an extra $12 billion.

Even if a little late, the tax cuts won't hit pay packets on July 1 as promised - instead July 31 - a month later. 

And the $20 tax cut is landing perhaps a bit flat.

"It's not going to make a huge difference unfortunately," one person told Newshub.

"Not going to make any difference to my life. I'd sooner it goes back into the economy," another said.

"[It] should be helpful. I've just been made redundant so anything's better than nothing," said another.

Other reactions from people Newshub spoke to range from "bloody good" to "pretty useless".

The maximum tax cut is $25 per week - there's also the childcare subsidies already announced which will give middle-income families with young children $125 a week. 

Meaning, of course, there are those who lose out. 

Parliament's lawn was filled with protestors as Finance Minister Nicola Willis delivered her first Budget.

And pensioners learned they'll have to make do with an extra $2.25 a week - while high earners like the politicians will get $20. 

"It seems a bit disproportionate really," one Christchurch retiree said.

"Oh god, they're generous, aren't they? ... That's shocking," said another.

And there's no more coming. The Finance Minister has ruled that's it for tax cuts until there's a surplus.

And then there's those with unfathomable bills. This week, Newshub spoke to Vickie Hudson Craig - who's paying $5000 a month for cancer treatment - one of the 13 drugs National promised to fund.

But they didn't. They broke the promise.

Craig is devastated, telling Newshub votes were given to National on the back of that promise.

Akhil Chaudray is also devastated - he's got stage 3 lung cancer

He's handing over the last $10,000 he's been able to fundraise on Givealittle on Friday for two months' supply of Osimertinib - again one of the 13 drugs promised and not delivered. 

Asked why National promised the drugs if the Government couldn't deliver them, Willis said: "We will deliver it."

But not right now - not like they promised Craig and Chaudray.