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$1b more for health – where are extra services?

Record $1b more for health – where are the extra services?

New information has revealed that for the first time in New Zealand’s history, health spending is to rise by over $1 billion in this week’s Budget for the 2005/2006 financial year, ACT Health spokesman Heather Roy said today.

“No portfolio in the entire history of New Zealand has ever been increased by a billion dollars in one year,” Mrs Roy said.

“This is an almost doubling of the extra $550 million a year that Labour has been throwing at health each year for the last three years.

“While extra funding for health is seen as a popular vote winner, serious questions have emerged as to what, if any, extra services are being delivered as a result of this record pouring of taxpayer dollars in to health.

“Adding an extra $1 billion to Vote Health in election year is totally unprecedented, and is unsustainable”.

The explosion to the billion dollars extra for Vote Health in the budget comes from:

• The existing historically already announced $550m million annual increase,

• Labour’s 2005 election bribe of an extra $110 million a year for asset testing,

• An extra $145m for the nurses “Pay Jolt”.

• An extra $61m a year for the Holidays Act.

• Additional DSS funding of $50m.

• An extra $50m for demographics.

• Numerous additional announcements that take the budget increase to well over a billion dollars.

“The tragedy in this is that health gain is near non existent.

“Health Minister Annette King’s own figures show that, despite the extra billions for health, the number of operations has not budged.

“Today there are 120,000 patients waiting for their First Specialist Assessments and a further 61,000 patients, assessed as needing surgery, who are stuck on waiting lists.

“Labour’s extra health funding has delivered no relief for patients waiting for operations in five years; the doubling of this to a billion dollars will deliver few extra services, no extra operations and sets the health system up for a crisis in the event of the predicted economic tightening that is inevitable,” Mrs Roy said.


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