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Labour's latest election bribe

Heather Roy Tuesday, 16 August 2005

Press Releases - Health

Today's latest Labour election bribe is great news for those who have been waiting for joint operations but a slap in the face for the tens of thousands of Kiwis waiting for all other treatments, ACT Health spokesman Heather Roy said today.

"Labour's desperate attempt to woo voters with the promise of more hip and knee operations highlights its failure to deliver in health. Despite pouring an extra $3.5 billion a year into health in the last six years, the number of operations has not increased.

"Labour is again picking winners - the elderly vote, but what about the 8,112 New Zealanders, many of them children, who are waiting for ear nose and throat procedures or the 11, 915 who need general surgery such as gall bladder or hernia operations.

"Labour's latest pledge is an admission that its health policy has failed New Zealanders.

"This is yet another example of Labour's blatant election year window dressing and vote buying from Labour's elderly vote group. There are waiting lists in every speciality area but Helen Clark is only interested in those that she thinks will vote for Labour," Mrs Roy said.

"It flies in the face of four years of Labour's health reforms. District Health Boards were established to make local decisions about health need priorities based on their local populations. But Labour is once again interfering in this local decision making process.

"DHBs have not requested this funding but many would prefer additional funding in other surgery areas depending upon the individual needs of their local people.

"Throwing more money at health is not the answer. Waste in health bureaucracy must be slashed and breaking down the artificial barrier between public and private will result in more operations," Mrs Roy said.

ACT will:

- Cut waiting lists by a third from 180,000 to 120,000 over three years. This will be achieved by removing $250 million of waste from the system. DHBs will be required to contract private hospitals, which will provide an extra 25,000 operations and specialists assessments a year.

- Provide tax relief so that more people can afford private health insurance and private treatment.

- Cut health bureaucracy and numbers of members on DHBs.

ENDS


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