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Minister Misleads Over Big Health Deficit

Health Minister Annette King can't face the fact that district health board deficits will be $215 million over the next year, National's Health spokesperson Roger Sowry said today.

"Annette King told Parliament today the deficit was $61.9 million, but she's way out of date - that was the deficit for the last financial year.

What the 21 health boards are really worried about is the huge $215 million projected deficit for the year to June 2002 which I released yesterday in a compilation of figures from media reports and district health board papers.

"I've even had boards contact me today saying their deficit will be higher than the figures I released yesterday.

"Annette King tried to deflect the issue by quoting the old figure. Here is a Minister sitting on her hands and pretending nothing is wrong when boards are running up deficits and talking about chopping services.

"She told the select committee seven weeks ago the deficit wouldn't rise above $100 million. She can't even stand by that today and instead is fiddling the figures by quoting last year's deficit," Mr Sowry said.


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