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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 or existing expenditures to the funding needed to provide two cochlear implants for children. We are not saying these programmes 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.

Labours Kauri announcement

On TVNZ today…

Labour Leader David Cunliffe has announced a $20 million project over the next ten years to combat the spread of Kauri dieback disease.

Earlier this month Kauri dieback was discovered in the Whangapoua forest in the Coromandel and Mr Cunliffe says it’s now prevalent in Northland and Great Barrier Island forests.

“Unless we act to stop its spread, this iconic New Zealand species could be wiped out.”

$20m over 10 years would make a fairly big dent in giving two cochlear implants to every child that needs them. In fact with the ramp up of the cost, it would probably cover it .

Now Kauri trees are magnificent. But what is really more important? Children with profound hearing loss being able to hear properly. Or a few trees.

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