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Brash digs bigger and bigger hole

22 June 2005

Brash digs bigger and bigger hole

National party leader Don Brash is digging himself into a bigger and bigger hole over what National will spend on health if it ever returns to office, Health Minister Annette King says.

“Finance Minister Michael Cullen yesterday quite rightly pointed out that Dr Brash was using weasel words on radio when he said National would spend more on healthcare than we’re doing now,” she says.

“As Dr Cullen said, people wanting operations or cheaper health care visits should read the fine print carefully. Dr Brash was very careful not to commit to Labour’s current allocated increases over the next four years of around $1 billion over current spending levels.

“If anything, Dr Brash became even more weasel-like when interviewed by broadcaster Paul Holmes last night. He refused to say whether National would maintain Labour’s increased allocations --- needed to keep pace with demographic and inflationary pressures. In fact, he refused to give any idea what he meant by increased spending.”

Annette King says: “What all this means is simply that Dr Brash and his finance spokesperson John Key are now buried so deep in a hole of their own making they can hardly see any light any more. They actually have got no idea what they’re talking about. They haven’t got a health policy. And we certainly won’t have a decent health system offering today’s services, let alone continually improving services, if they ever get their hands on it.

“They are like all zealots, blinded by their own zeal. In their case, it is a blind determination to cut taxes, whatever the impact on social services like health and education. The bottom line of the weasel words is savage cuts in services.

“It is time for Dr Brash to come clean with New Zealanders, to say if he will continue with the extra billion dollars we have already committed above current spending levels.”

ENDS

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