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National Returns to its Dark Past on Health

Hon David Cunliffe
Minister of Health

26th April 2008

National Returns to its Dark Past on Health


The National Party has once again talked about returning to the policies of the 1990s when it comes to investing in health infrastructure said the Minister of Health David Cunliffe today.

“National’s Maurice Williamson sloppy ideological driven comments on “Agenda “ last Sunday points to National resurrecting the concept of public –private partnerships in Health.”

“And who would sign-off on such a crazy deal? None other than the National Party's own Bill English, who with Maurice Williamson, appears to be more and more likely to become the National Party infrastructure spokesman by the day

“It would be instructive to remember what happened in the 1990s when National refused to provide capital funding for healthcare services in Napier .The result was that Healthcare Hawke’s Bay was forced into a 13 year long lease for a building that cost 11 million dollars to build .The cost of this experiment was $1.2 million dollars a year ,”said Mr Cunliffe

“The result is that now the building has a current replacement value of just $4.5 million dollars .”

“Contrast this with the record of this Government which has undertaken the largest hospital redevelopment and rebuilding programme in New Zealand’s history. This includes seven new hospitals, eight major upgrades and ten new specialist facilities.”

“This huge programme of bringing our hospitals into the 21st century has cost 1.5 billion dollars .The important thing is that this was a public investment, something the Labour led government is committed to.” said Mr Cunliffe.

Mr Cunliffe said while this Government had some positive relationships with private providers, the focus of those relationships was on increasing the level of patient care and reducing waiting times, not using public money to pay for buildings owned by companies.

“The message to all New Zealanders is clear .If you want public investment in health you are only safe with Labour .”

ENDS

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