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Labour's funding deceit to blame for decision

Labour's funding deceit to blame for DHB's decision

Wednesday 2 Feb 2005

Heather Roy - Press Releases - Health

Health Minister Annette King's public criticism of the Nelson-Marlborough District Health Board's decision to close the community hospital at Murchison, rather than rebuild it, is nothing more than election year posturing, ACT Health spokesman Heather Roy said today.

The Minister has told the DHB that she will not approve the closure, and that it must re-think its decision to replace the hospital with a new medical centre.

"Ms King has previously always claimed that she is unable to influence operational matters. Yet now, with an election just months away, she is telling the board to reverse its decision," Mrs Roy said.

"The financial pressure on the board that led to the suggested closure was caused by the Labour Government's deceit over its funding of the DHB.

Mrs Roy said the Minister claimed to have increased the DHB's operational funding by $20.3 million in the Budget but, in truth, the increase is only $7 million or 3.6 percent.

"Of the $20 million, $7.6 million was needed just to pay for Disability Services (Aged Care) - previously centrally funded by the Health Ministry. Also, a burgeoning bureaucracy soaked up more money, while wage and salary settlements were above the level of funding provided by Vote Health. Further, Labour-imposed initiatives, such as the Holidays Act, had stretched the DHB's budget.

"Ms King's deceit over the board's funding is a absolute disgrace. I call on the Minister to drop her election year posturing, and be open and transparent with the people of Nelson-Marlborough, Mrs Roy said.

ENDS


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