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Govt can't fix health with empty promises

Roger Sowry National Health Spokesperson

3 December 2001

Govt can't fix health with empty promises

The Government is dreaming if it thinks it can fix the underfunding crisis it has created in health in next year's Budget, National's Health spokesperson Roger Sowry said today.

"After spending $80 million on 'Jim's Bank', $87 million on the arts, $57 million on a Maori TV channel, and $1 billion on Air New Zealand there has been no money left for health.

"Helen Clark's claim at its weekend conference that Labour has kept to its pledge card on health is absolute rubbish.

"This Government has quite clearly left health as its lowest funding priority. Now it's scraping the barrel but there's no money there.

"The reason the health system is in such turmoil now is because the Government has underfunded health since the day it was elected. At the same time Annette King won't take any responsibility for her underfunding of district health boards and radiotherapy services.

"This Government made an empty promise of better health services if it increased taxes. It went ahead and increased taxes but not a cent of it has gone to health, instead Annette King has run the health system down while encouraging boards to run up big deficits.

"Annette King won't face her responsibility to fund health. She spends most of her time avoiding questions from the media.

"Taxpayers have already more than paid for increased funding to health through increased taxes. New Zealanders still haven't seen any of the $500 million tax grab tagged for better health and education services back in 1999," Mr Sowry said.

Ends

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