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More scarce health dollars spent on sex change

Dr Paul Hutchison MP National Party Health Spokesman

20 August 2005

More scarce health dollars spent on sex change

National Party Health spokesman Paul Hutchison says most New Zealanders will be appalled that scarce health dollars are being spent on sex change operations, while people line up for hip, hernia and gall bladder surgery.

"National will have to be convinced, that any gender reassignment surgery carried out under the public system on its watch is justified.

"We have a major problem when the taxpayer foots the bill, while other New Zealanders are forced to line up for the simple things," says Dr Hutchison.

He is commenting on reports in the Daily News today, that the taxpayer is set to pay for the $30,000 sex change operation of Taranaki's Vicki Harvey who was quoted as saying 'I have no wealth, no income, and I have a gambling habit'.

"This person expects to have their surgery done next year. Many people further back in the elective surgery queue will be understandably angry with that."

Labour has recently increased the number of sex change operations to be funded by the taxpayer.

"Vicki Harvey was one of the main advocates for this extension and personally lobbied the Prime Minister with a letter writing and e-mail campaign.

"Helen Clark said she'd blitz the waiting list for operations. Instead there has been a productivity collapse in the health sector and people are being shuffled from one waiting list to the next.

"The 180,000 Kiwis waiting for surgery or first specialist assessment, including those who've been given no certainty about when their operations will be done, can register their protest on September 17," says Dr Hutchison.

ENDS

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