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Bill Provides Health Fund Accountability

28 August 2006

Bill Provides Health Fund Accountability

HealthCare Providers New Zealand (HCPNZ) is urging all political parties to support a National Party amendment to the Official Information Act that will bring greater accountability to the District Health Boards.

The National Party bill to amend the Official Information Act 1982 aims to bring DHBNZ under the auspices of the Act. Currently, DHBNZ, which is funded from its member District Health Boards, is incorporated and falls outside the OIA.

“DHBNZ was set up to assist DHBs meet their objectives and accountabilities to the Crown. It uses taxpayers money for its operations and should be subject to the same rules of accountability as other taxpayer-funded agencies,” Martin Taylor, HealthCare Providers CEO, said today.

“DHBNZ reports to the Minister on behalf of all DHBs; it carries out negotiations on behalf of all DHBs; it makes decisions that impact on all New Zealanders – yet the public cannot find out what this group does because it is not subject to the OIA. National’s bill will rectify this situation.”

Mr Taylor said that DHBNZ is likely to oppose the bill and use the argument that all of its members are subject to the OIA. “If the DHBNZ wants to do what’s constitutionally right, it won’t mind opening itself up to scrutiny by the public – after all, it exists solely on public money.”

“Our constitutional framework is made up of Acts, such as the OIA, that keep our public service among the least corrupted in the world. The existing situation with DHBNZ chips away at that framework and this anomaly should be fixed,” Mr Taylor said.

“In practice DHBNZ creates and holds information not held by DHBs and this information is not accessible to the public. The question should be, ‘What was the reason for DHBs to establish an entity outside the OIA?’ Was it intentional and, if so, is that an appropriate action by government agencies? If it was not intentional to get around public accountability, then there is every reason for DHBs to support this bill.”

ENDS

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