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Greens oppose health tax


4 July 2002

Greens oppose health tax

Green co-leader Rod Donald today said the Greens would oppose Labour's new dedicated health tax.

Senior Government whip Rick Barker today told a public meeting that the Government planned to introduce a dedicated health fund, with a portion of taxes accrued in the Government's consolidated fund going towards health spending.

"The Greens think this is a stupid idea. This is a tax by stealth and the only reason the Government are looking at this option is because they have locked up so much money in Dr Cullen's overseas-invested super fund," said Mr Donald.

"If, as Labour claim, this is not a new tax then I challenge them to tell us what they intend to cut so that more funds can be shifted onto health."

Mr Donald said the Greens would be concerned that the creation of a separate fund for health was a step down the path towards individualised health accounts.

"Already concern is growing at the increasing amount of money being chewed up by the health administration and bureaucracy. Labour's proposal today would increase the costs of administering the health system, leaving even less for front-line services.

"If the Government knew anything about health it would shift the focus onto preventing people from getting sick in the first place. That is the Green Party's priority.

"Preventing illness could be achieved through addressing issues like poverty, poor housing, dirty air and poor diet. If we fail to address the causes of poor health we will forever be looking at new ways to pump more and more money into the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff," said Mr Donald.

"It is proposals like this one that highlight why Labour doesn't deserve absolute power. A Labour Party governing alone could cook up wacky ideas like this and impose them at will."

ENDS

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