Labour’s direction in health hugely disappointing

Yesterday’s Broken Compass Budget has revealed the impact the Government’s decision to radically restructure our health sector will have on the health of all New Zealanders, National’s Health spokesperson Dr Shane Reti says.

“Labour has allocated almost half billion dollars to ‘begin the transition’ to its proposed three-headed Wellington bureaucracy comprising of the Ministry of Health, a second Ministry of Health (Health NZ) and a third Ministry of Health (the Māori Health Authority).

“We believe there will be unhealthy competition between these three agencies with added layers of bureaucracy and less accountability where each will blame the other for any failure to deliver

“The investment going into restructuring costs is more than double what the Government committed to Pharmac. Kiwis suffering from rare diseases and cancer who desperately need their medicines funded will find this incredibly disappointing.

“Our DHBs received hundreds of millions of dollars less than what they need for cost pressures, meaning it won’t be possible to keep the lights on and to keep many crucial services.

“This is at a time when they are struggling to rollout the Covid-19 vaccine and the pay freeze will send nurses and doctors to Australia.

“This transition is just the start. When it’s all said and done, Labour will likely have wasted billions of dollars on a plan that will improve outcomes for office workers in Wellington, but won’t do a thing to improve health outcomes for New Zealanders.

“There is no focus on health outcomes.

“Every dollar this Government wastes on trying to centralise the health system is a dollar that’s not available for cancer drugs, for our nurses, or for surgeries.

“National wanted to see a Budget that was focused on improving health outcomes for all New Zealanders. Instead we’ve got a Budget that’s taking money away to pay for layers of bureaucracy.”