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Rural Health Plight Entirely Predictable

Rural Health Plight Entirely Predictable

Tuesday 9 Mar 2004 Heather Roy Press Releases -- Health

ACT New Zealand Health Spokesman Heather Roy today said it was too late for rural community leaders to fight for a say on health issues, as Labour has already rushed through what can only be described as cursory consultation of the STV At-Large voting system.

"Media has said Rural Women New Zealand were not told Labour would abolish rural wards. Labour's `consultation' involved sending a document to District Health Boards and local councils - with submissions to close six weeks later," Mrs Roy said.

"There was no time to invite submissions, and have them heard, in such a short timeframe. Labour had made up its mind before these documents were even sent out - and they were only sent so Labour could be seen to be doing the right thing.

"RWNZ's fears, that rural health issues will not be promoted as strongly now that rural wards are not guaranteed rural representation, are entirely justified - Health Minister Annette King has a habit of neglecting to seek the views of communities her policies will affect.

"Last year I predicted Labour was sneaking through a change to dilute the level of local say in health board elections. Health boards are slowly being made into scapegoats for adverse publicity that Labour doesn't want - such as deficits and service cuts.

"This is completely unacceptable. Rural residents deserve rural representation on their local health board. Under Labour, unfortunately, local people with good skills will find it almost impossible to be elected - while Labour ensures it runs the show," Mrs Roy said.

ENDS


For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.


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