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Health Money Used For Self-Promotion

Health Money Used For Self-Promotion

Monday 23 Aug 2004
Heather Roy
Press Releases -- Health

The Labour Government's spending of almost $1 million in health funding, to advertise its Primary Health Organisations, is nothing more than blatant electioneering, ACT New Zealand Health Spokesman Heather Roy said today.

"Answers to my written Parliamentary Questions have revealed that Labour has spent $890,000 on TV, radio, print, cinema and billboard advertising to promote PHOs - over $195,000 of it on TV One's `Family Health Diary' with Jude Dobson, and the `Family Health Diary magazine'," Mrs Roy said.

"This spending is supposed to inform patients of what they are entitled to - but the 3.5 million Kiwis who now belong to PHOs have had little or no choice over whether of not they join.

"PHOs were set up two years ago. But, with an election looming, the Government has decided to spend up large informing the public. So far, this advertising campaign has cost the taxpayer $890,000 - with an extra $975,000 to be spent in the 2004/05 financial year.

"This funding does not include the $85,000 that Prime Minister Helen Clark spent on a letter at the end of June 2004, to inform over 65 year-olds that they would receive cheaper doctor visits from July 1 2004 if they were enrolled in a PHO.

"Labour isn't interested in simply informing the public of the new services available to them. Instead, it sees an opportunity to earn political brownie points courtesy of the hard-working Kiwi taxpayer.

"It is crystal clear that the Government has deliberately delayed the advertising of PHOs until closer to the election, in order to win votes. Labour has, yet again, seen fit to buy votes with taxpayers' money that should be spent on patients," 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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