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Race-based health funding alive and well

Hon Tony Ryall National Party Health Spokesman

30 August 2006

Race-based health funding alive and well

Labour is back to its old tricks with health policies based on race, despite repeatedly saying before the election that race-based policies would go, says National's Health spokesman, Tony Ryall.

In Parliament today, Mr Ryall revealed that Western Bay of Plenty PHO is offering subsidised gym memberships, lifestyle coaching and weight loss programmes to male Maori aged between 35 and 45.

"This is Helen Clark and Labour up to their old tricks again," says Mr Ryall.

"After saying it would crack down on race-based policies and Treaty clauses before the election, the Labour Government has done nothing since.

"First the Ministry of Health tells dentists and optometrists to treat Maori patients differently and inserts Treaty clauses into their contracts, and now they are targeting primary health programmes on race.

"DHBs and PHOs should be focusing on the needs of their patients, not the colour of their skin or their sex.

"New Zealanders do not want their health dollars divided by race.

"National says patients should be treated on the basis of need. The Government should tell DHBs and PHOs to stop dividing their regions racially," says Mr Ryall.

The most at-risk racial group for cardiovascular disease in the Bay of Plenty is Indian. In March 2005, Cabinet directed the Ministry of Health to begin work on removing the racial component in PHO funding, yet it remains.

ENDS


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