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Health Minister Ad In Breach Of Cabinet Manual

Health Minister Advertisement In Breach Of Cabinet Manual

New Zealand First is asking how Health Minister Annette King can justify appearing in four full page advertisements for a private health clinic in two Wellington newspapers, when the Cabinet Manual prohibits such activities, and Labour policy is against private providers.

“The Cabinet Manual prohibits Ministers from advertising products or using their influence or profile in advertisements or endorsements. Yet here we see three photos of the Minister smiling away for the cameras, and an article which the minister must have sanctioned stating that the ‘Health Minister says patients will have access to world class facilities’,” said Leader Winston Peters today.

“It is interesting that the minister only appears in these advertisements in Wellington—where her electorate is. It is also interesting that these ads coincided with the announcement yesterday that Wellington would not be seeing a new hospital as Minister King promised before the election.

“The Minister now has a number of things to explain. Why did she breach the Cabinet Manual, and why has she advocated the use of private hospitals over public hospitals? Why has she allowed a private company to pay for a party-political advertisement in her home electorate and what other benefits does she hope to gain from private health providers?

“This matter is very serious and should be treated as such. Labour Ministers will jump through any hoop to get their pictures in the paper, but this goes so much further than that.

“Helen Clark should explain why she applies the Cabinet Manual to other ministers in other parties, but not to her own ministers.

“That the capital city’s media and the Press Gallery did not pick up on this demonstrates something seriously amiss in the fourth estate. What chance is there of balanced and professional reporting in the upcoming campaign?,” concluded Mr Peters


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