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Pork barrel politics - not health

16 December 2004

Judith Collins National Party Health Spokeswoman -

Pork barrel politics - not health

The Labour Government has abandoned all fiscal credibility in its latest plan to buy votes in Otago.

Government backbencher David Parker has leaked a secret scheme to save a Waitaki District Council company from paying tax on its income, and about $1.6 million in tax on a Government suspensory loan.

Finance Minister Michael Cullen has agreed to introduce a tax exemption because the Otago District Health Board is not providing the health care provided.

"On that basis, Wakefield Hospital, Ascot Mercy and every other private hospital would be getting tax-free income and Government suspensory loans for the public work they undertake," Ms Collins says.

"The fact that it is Mr Parker, the local MP, who has announced this massive departure in tax policy, rather than the Minister of Finance or the Minister of Health, shows this really is just pork barrel politics.

"I suspect every other local council around the country will now see themselves as healthcare providers, too."

ENDS

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