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Nats won't come clean on hospital charges

Hon Annette King
Minister of Health

5 September 2005 Media Statement

Nats won't come clean on hospital charges

National is refusing, with just 12 days to go until the election, to commit to keeping hospitals free for all New Zealanders.

Health Minister Annette King says Don Brash was asked a specific question on the issue in Saturday's Dominion Post newspaper, and refused to answer it.

"No one would be at all surprised if National brought back the hospital charges they instituted in the 1990's.

"Clearly, they don't believe in fair funding for everyone. They've already said that people aged 25 to 64 won't get subsidised primary health care unless they qualify for the Community Services Card or the Kiwi Poor Card.

"It is also clear that National wants to shift the cost of health care on to New Zealanders through private medical insurance."

Ms King says that it’s a disgrace that National has still not released its health policy 12 days before the election.

"Clearly, they don't want anyone to be able to analyse it properly, because of the inevitable service cuts that will result from their policy of giving generous tax breaks to the rich. Under their tax policy, two-thirds of New Zealanders will only get $10 a week or less. You won't be able to buy much private health insurance for that."

Ms King says that the only health policy that National has produced so far has come through one of its "front organisations", which is distributing " nasty and incorrect information" in pamphlets distributed through letter boxes.

"It's time they had the courage to stand behind a health policy, rather than hiding behind organisations no one has heard of."

Ms King says the "scurrilous" pamphlets are distributed by the so-called New Zealand Advocates for Timely Health Care, authorised by J Hawkins, of 3 Brent Place, Christchurch. "They are appearing in the dark of night, in letterboxes at the same time as National's pamphlets.

"I leave it up to you to decide. So much for Don Brash not getting into dirty politics."

ENDS

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