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Sowry peddles “line of misery”

5 December 2001 Media Statement

Sowry peddles “line of misery”

Health Minister Annette King says National Party health spokesperson Roger Sowry is so busy “peddling a line of misery” that he is actually beginning to believe in it.

“The scare mongering concerns he raises about District Health Board deficits do nothing for his credibility. Deficits have been a fact of life for many years, and what this Government intends to do is to create a long-term funding climate that eventually allows boards to plan without deficits.”

Mrs King was referring to a claim by Mr Sowry that the predicted deficits for DHBs in the 2001/02 year had now reached $241.5 million.

“The actual size of deficits will not be known until all business plans are signed off, but provisional indications are that the actual deficit support needed will be less than $100 million. Some boards, like Capital and Coast DHB, will not require any deficit support funding,” Mrs King said.

“His concerns seem based on the silly presumption that no new money will be put into health in the future. Well, that sort of misery might have happened under his former government, but it won’t happen under this Government.

“Just before the last election, in October 1999, then Health Minister Wyatt Creech said the National Government would put $175 million more into health services in 2000/01.

“Big deal! The Labour-Alliance Government actually put $412m more into health services in 2000-01, not the $175m National had promised.

“Given the figure of just $175m new money National would have provided in 2000/01, the deficits for this year would have been $426.6m, and the deficit for the following year $601.6m, and so on.

“Now that would have been talking self-perpetuating ‘national’ misery, and Mr Sowry would have been right in his element. Thank goodness the rest of us don’t have to share this nether world with him.”

ENDS

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