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Health Reforms Far-Reaching And Radical

The Government's health restructuring legislation is more far reaching and radical than Labour led voters to believe at the election, National's Health spokesperson Wyatt Creech said today.

"The health reform legislation before Parliament today is a recipe for uncertainty and upheaval at a time when everyone in the health sector should be focusing on fixing day-to-day problems and delivering services.

"There is heaps more bureaucracy in the legislation than Labour told voters. It pours bureaucracy back into health with managers, reference groups, more committees and officials and advisers everywhere.

"It will also be news to New Zealanders that the far reaching legislation doesn't stop at health services.

"It includes Treaty provisions without knowing where they will lead. This is extremely serious and of major constitutional significance.

"If a Treaty clause is to be included in health legislation, there is no logical reason why it should not be included in all social legislation.

"To include a generic Treaty clause against the reams of advice to Ministers of the risks that "The insertion of a Treaty clause is acknowledgement that Government accepts that Mäori do have claims on the health system in addition to those they have as citizens" is irresponsible.

"We support improving Mäori health because we need to, not because it is a Treaty right. When it comes to access to health services, all New Zealanders should be treated equitably and the criteria for treatment should be need.

"The legislation also brings in a completely new voting system - the Single Transferable Vote. No-one knows what that means either. The Health Ministry is even getting into non-health issues and setting up an electoral advisory unit.

"The legislation is verging on the farcical. It even includes in law how to run a teleconference!"


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