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Getting value for money in health and education

Don Brash MP National Party Leader

19 July 2005

Getting value for money in health and education

National Party Leader Don Brash says National will conduct a baseline review of health and education to ensure taxpayers are getting value for money.

"Yesterday we saw the Labour Government admit to the most appalling waste of taxpayers' money in the tertiary education sector.

"Today, I want to make a commitment to bring to an end the binge of poor quality and untargeted spending which characterises Helen Clark's Government. I also want to make clear the approach that an incoming National Government will bring to funding the education and health portfolios.

"Every New Zealander will now be aware of the massive waste which is occurring under Labour. In health, the expenditure has increased by 50% but the number of operations performed is static. In education, literally billions of dollars have been wasted on low quality programmes, bureaucracy and the breathtaking incompetence associated with the debacle of the NCEA.

"Without that waste we would have had better educational outcomes, better health services, more operations done, and better policing of our communities. With this appalling track record as background, Labour's only strategy seems to be to assert - with ever diminishing credibility - that National will cut core services. We will not. We will improve them.

"An incoming National Government will ring fence the 2005/6 Budget allocations for health and education, and ensure they are spent wisely. In other words, there will be no reduction in health and education spending in the 2005/06 year under National as compared to the funds committed by Labour.

"As for future years, we will also engage in a major exercise to re-prioritise spending. But let me be clear about this, an incoming National Government will spend more on health and education in the 2006/7 year than will be spent this year and more again in 2007/08.

"In short, we will engage in a major exercise to reprioritise spending, particularly in the vital health and education portfolios. Increases in expenditure going forward will be tightly linked to commitments to providing improved frontline services in both education and health.

"Effective public spending is much more than just a question of how much has been spent. Setting sensible spending priorities and getting value for money is what counts.

"However, the extravagant growth in public spending projected in Labour's last budget (a 26% increase in core spending over the next four years, considerably faster than the growth of incomes in our economy) amounts to a continuation of the undisciplined and wasteful spending of the past.

"National will conduct a full baseline review of spending, and will set sensible spending priorities. That is what taxpayers expect," says Dr Brash.

ENDS

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