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It’s easy to see why Health Minister David Clark was reluctant to release data on DHBs’ financial performance because they’ve shown a budget blowout, National’s Health spokesperson Michael Woodhouse says.

“I’ve been predicting for months that combined DHB deficits would exceed $500 million for this financial year. It gives me no pleasure to note that the Ministry of Health, having released its forecasts for April and May, seems to agree.

“Dr Clark admitted yesterday that he received the April reports almost six weeks ago but did not bother to read them. Given the importance of DHB financial performance, this suggests staggering incompetence by the Minister.

“This Government portrays itself as open and transparent. If he wants to be open and transparent he should be proactive in releasing the information. Instead of dumping bad news late on a Friday afternoon, Dr Clark should be explaining why he’s failed to bring deficits under control.

“The figures are not a surprise. The Government has neither provided the funding they claimed they would give DHBs, nor set expectations for continued fiscal discipline.

“The Minister blames nine years of underfunding for this situation but the cause is now clear: an incompetent Minister who is asleep at the wheel of a health sector that is suffering from a lack of leadership.

“DHB deficits are out of control on his watch.”

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