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Fat Cat Payments Take Precedence Over Services

Fat Cat Payments Take Precedence Over Health Services

Government Ministers have taken an amazing u-turn on promises there would be no 'golden handshakes' in the Government's unnecessary restructure of the health system, National's Health spokesperson Roger Sowry says.

"Neither Health Minister Annette King or State Services Minister Trevor Mallard are accepting responsibility for the big pay rises to chief executives.

"This was the party that vehemently criticised National over pay outs and promised no golden handshakes in the health restructure.

"It's repeated promises of openness and transparency are also a joke when journalists could only obtain the information on the pay rises under the Official Information Act. I asked the Minister written questions which she refused to answer and passed the buck back to District Health Boards. "Trevor Mallard's comment that the pay rises are only modest shows he's not as good with figures as he boasts. Increases of $10,000 to $16,700 could hardly be described as modest on any salary. Neither could a $25,000 one-off payment.

"Hospitals around the country are facing huge deficits and struggling to keep some services at current levels. But the Government went ahead and approved these rises to chief executives at a time when it won't give a bean to saving essential health services.

"Because Annette King won't release the figures on the cost of the pointless restructure, the only information we have is that it cost about $20 million in the current financial year. It is little wonder the information is being kept under wraps if these sorts of payments have been going on behind closed doors.

"It is clear the Government has its priorities on health spending all wrong. Communities throughout New Zealand need an assurance that their services are not being cut back in order to fund fat cat pay rises," Mr Sowry said.


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