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Minister of Health David Clark has this morning effectively confirmed to New Zealanders that Labour’s promised reduction to GP fees will not occur on 1 July 2018 as they promised, National’s Health spokesperson Michael Woodhouse says.

“Labour campaigned on lowering the fee cap for Very Low Cost Access (VLCA) practices from $18 to $8 and to $2 for teens – as increasing funding for all practices that lowered their fees by $10 per visit. More than $1 billion was allocated in their Fiscal Plan to fund this promise,” Mr Woodhouse says.

“But Dr Clark has now confirmed that this won’t take place from 1 July, telling TVNZ’s Q&A this morning that ‘we’re going to have to phase some of these initiatives, I’m not going to skate around that’.

“That to me is a clear admission that the promise Labour made to New Zealanders will be broken.

“If, as the Health Minister has claimed, he is absolutely committed to the principle of bringing down the cost of going to the GP and the funds were allocated in their Fiscal Plan, why is it now not happening? The answer is that the Government has considerably over-promised and is now backtracking by breaking a key campaign promise.

“The Prime Minister recently stated the issues at Middlemore Hospital are emblematic. I agree – emblematic of a Government that has manufactured a crisis that doesn’t exist in order to mask its broken promises.

“The Minister’s record now includes the manufactured Middlemore crisis, raising massive expectations for nurse pay increases he won’t now meet, the debacle of the air ambulance tender, inertia and an unnecessary inquiry in Mental Health and now a billion dollar broken promise. This is a woeful litany after just six months in office.”

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