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King And Bunkle At Loggerheads Over Health

The Labour/Alliance Government is running into trouble over health policy - with the Health Minister confirming she's at loggerheads with Consumer Affairs Minister Phillida Bunkle, National's Health spokesperson Wyatt Creech said today.

"Annette King has confirmed the row in Parliament today.

"She has told Parliament she did not agree with Phillida Bunkle's concerns that hospitals had received too little new funding in the budget to cope with junior doctors' pay claims."

Phillida Bunkle has expressed concern that "in real terms, there is very little new spending" - and that there wasn't enough for junior doctor pay claims.

"I don't blame Phillida Bunkle and the Alliance for being worried at the way Annette King is handling the health portfolio.

"Mrs King has failed to deliver on promises for substantial increases in health funding, she has failed to support junior doctors and her health reforms are behind schedule and ill-conceived.

"This public split in the Government's ranks over health is the first of many to come as the health reforms falter, and the Health Minister fails to deliver anything substantial for the health system."

Ends

Attached Oral Questions 5.9.00

Rt Hon WYATT CREECH to the Minister of Health: Does she agree with the assessment made by her colleague, Hon Phillida Bunkle, that hospitals have received too little new funding in the Budget to cope with junior doctors' pay claims?

Annette King

No

Wyatt Creech

Is the cause of the frustration that led to the reports of angry words between her office and Philida Bunkle the fact that the advice to the select committee showed that the increase in the health vote is the lowest for five years?

Annette King

The funding that went to the hospital sector was above the rate paid to health overall so the member is wrong $110million went to the hospital sector.

Wyatt Creech

How does the Minister explain the comments of her colleague that by her calculations only $10-12m was an actual increase in spending this year because hospitals were facing an annual 8% increase in urgent cases without real funding increases?

Annette King

I wont explain it I suggest the member directs that question to Phillida Bunkle

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