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New Zealanders are missing out on the health care they need with the number of elective surgeries decreasing by almost 6,000 in the year to June, Leader of the Opposition Simon Bridges says.

“New Zealanders deserve the certainty of knowing when they are sick or in pain they will get the healthcare they’re paying for with their taxes.

“This is the first decrease in annual surgery numbers in a decade. Every year National was in Government, the numbers of people getting the surgeries they needed increased. Throughout our time in Government the number of elective surgeries carried out increased by 55,000.

“This was entirely predictable. David Clark removed health targets at the first opportunity he got, and after two years in Government, still hasn’t replaced them.

“In the year to June, 18 out of the 20 DHBs saw a decrease in the number of elective surgeries. It’s a complete failure to deliver. 

“The Minister then tried to cover it, taking almost five months to release this data because he didn’t want to admit the numbers were down. This from ‘most open and transparent Government ever’.

“The Government has now said it won’t publish elective surgeries data online anymore. Kiwis deserve to know how their DHB is performing.

“New Zealanders are getting less from our health system and the Government is trying to avoid accountability for its failures.

“When you have a strong economy you can afford to do more. National will revive the economy so we can invest more in health, education and infrastructure.

“We’ve had a series of preventable measles outbreaks, waiting times have increased and the Government had to be embarrassed into action on cancer. The Labour-led Government is failing to deliver on health.”

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