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As we run up to the election, the government and other political parties will be announcing exciting new programmes. They will be vying for our votes by promising to spend large amounts of taxpayer money.

Over the coming months 2ears2hear will be running a series of posted entitled “Priorities”. In these posts we will be comparing the spending announcements to the funding needed to provide two cochlear implants for children. We are not saying these programmes announced are not needed. We are asking whether they are as important as kiwi children being able to hear properly.

By way of a little background, the maximum cost of funding two cochlear implants for children is $3.1m per annum. The initial costs starts out at around $1m and will ramp up over 18 years to this $3.1m figure.

Battle for our Birds

On the 30th January 2014 Dr Nick Smith, the Minister of Conservation, announced a five year programme called the Battle for our Birds.

The Department of Conservation’s (DOC’s) five-year battle plan will double the amount of conservation land protected through the use of 1080.

The $21 million project aims to protect 25 million native birds a year over the next five years.

Hailed as DOC’s largest-ever species protection programme and dubbed the ‘Battle for our Birds’, it was unveiled yesterday by Conservation Minister Nick Smith.

“Our native birds are in decline and the kiwi will not exist in the wild for our grandchildren unless we do more to protect them,” Dr Smith said.

The question is whether $21m over five years to save some birds is more important that $15.5m over five years to give 230 kiwi children the ability to hear properly?

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