Recycled Health policy still does not ‘show the money’

Press Release – New Zealand Labour Party

National’s health policy released today is a dossier of re-cycled ‘initiatives’ that raises more questions than it answers, Labour’s Health spokesperson Grant Robertson says.Grant Robertson
Health Spokesperson

17 November 2011

Recycled Health policy still does not ‘show the money’

National’s health policy released today is a dossier of re-cycled ‘initiatives’ that raises more questions than it answers, Labour’s Health spokesperson Grant Robertson says.

“While it is good to see Tony Ryall finally giving some attention to preventive health and primary care, he still needs to answer the question as to what programmes will be cut to pay for his promises.

“He has not put enough resources in the last two Budgets to meet the costs of inflation or an ageing population. That is effectively a cut.

“Now he wants more programmes delivered from that reduced funding. Something will have to give –the Minister needs to fully explain what that will be.

“Public health prevention should be the number one priority. The health professionals say it, staff at the coal-face say it. Yet more than $100 million has been cut from programmes dedicated to better long-term health outcomes for all New Zealanders.

“Tony Ryall has made much of his plans to extend free after-hours care to all under-sixes. It’s an excellent idea and one which Labour has already announced will be fully funded 24/7 if it becomes Government.

“National, on the other hand is taking $7 million from its existing budget to pay for it. That means less money for something else.

“The Minister also makes commitments to supporting ‘smarter investment in home support’ and investing in ‘opportunities for patient self-care’.

“Those sorts of euphemisms would have made George Bush proud.

“Older New Zealanders had the experience of National’s ‘smarter’ investment when home help hours were cut, including by phone assessment,” Grant Robertson said.

“Tony Ryall is the master of giving with one hand and taking with the other. He needs to be straight up with New Zealanders about what is happening in the health sector.

“Labour’s health policy makes preventive health, access to affordable, quality primary health care for everyone, and the health of children, priorities.

“This is an investment in our future and it is the right thing to do for the future wellbeing of our country,” Grant Robertson said.

ENDS

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