Explore the policy we promoted in 2023 - Public Services

Public services are the foundation of our society, providing essential services that we all rely on.

But right now, they're under strain. Long wait times, understaffed services, and a lack of funding are all making it harder for New Zealanders to get the help they need.

TOP believes that public services should be accessible, affordable, and high quality. We have under-invested for too long and are now dealing with the consequences. Everyone should be able to access quality healthcare and education, and feel safe in their communities.



Our health system is at a tipping point, and recent health reforms and centralisation hasn’t worked. We will take a public health approach to healthcare, resolve labour shortages and invest in key areas that improve outcomes for everyone.

  • Strengthen workforce retention of all healthcare workers by ensuring they have fair liveable wages and safer hour rosters.
  • Increase placements at medical, nursing and dentistry schools.
  • Introduce an accelerated post-graduate medical programme for people who have completed clinical or science degrees.
  • Support increased funding to the voluntary bonding scheme for nurses, midwives, doctors and all allied health workers.
  • Support a fully funded ambulance service.
  • Fully fund contraception (including long-acting reversible contraception).
  • Fully fund antenatal ultrasounds (and associated GP visits), alongside more support for maternity services.
  • Review funding model for primary care to empower more GP practices to provide fully funded care in the community (e.g. cervical screening and minor skin surgery).
  • Support Te Whatu Ora to provide public GP practices in under-served rural areas that do not currently have a primary care provider.
  • Support further research into psychoactive drugs and mental health treatment.


Law and Order

Our justice system is under strain and continues to be a source of tension and concern. To reduce offending and reoffending we must address the underlying social and environmental factors that are driving criminal offending in the first place.

Our focus on making housing affordable, tackling the rising cost of living, and improving social cohesion are essential in order to make a real difference when it comes to lowering crime in New Zealand. We also propose to:

  • Provide funding for a national rollout of the specialist Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment Court which has been successful in reducing reoffending.
  • Introduce a new offence for ‘stalking’ to provide clearer guidance for police investigating criminal harassment.
  • Provide better support to victims, particularly for violent offending, through specialist counselling and financial assistance, as well as greater influence in name suppression decisions.
  • Improve access to legal aid by increasing income thresholds and removing relationship status requirements as well as increase funding for the public defence service.
  • Respond to increasing cybercrime threats through improved regulation, data management, enforcement and response.
  • Legalise, regulate and tax the sale and supply of cannabis, by incorporating it into the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012, and remove cannabis from the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975.
  • Introduce a Community Constable Trial in Christchurch as part of raising community visibility of the Police.



Our education system is under strain and continues to be a source of concern. We will take an investment approach to education, upskill our workforce and invest in key areas that improve outcomes for our children and the people who educate them.

  • Give direct cash support to parents for help with early childcare & education.
  • Implement a contracting model for ECE that requires the government to award contracts based on the quality of service provision, with a focus on child and community centered outcomes.
  • Improve the quality of professional development for teachers.
  • Offer fair pay for all teachers, increase funding for teaching assistants and improve specialist support in schools.
  • Build curiosity in children and youth, including a 'facilitated play' approach to learning in the early years of schooling.
  • Invest in ‘structured literacy’ to boost educational outcomes, including international accredited training for teachers.
  • Support lifelong and flexible learning, including funding for ‘night schools’.
  • Review the Tertiary Sector to support both student outcomes and academic research.