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Labour spends up large, health camps face closure

Judith Collins MP
National Party Welfare Spokeswoman

16 October 2008

Labour spends up large while health camps face closure

National’s Welfare spokeswoman Judith Collins is appalled at the callous way Labour has ignored the funding crisis facing the country’s children’s health camps.

“This situation beggars belief. Helen Clark and Ruth Dyson have been contacted by the dedicated people who run these health camps, pleading for their help, but they’ve chosen to ignore them. Labour has opted instead to embark on a wild spending spree.”

Ms Collins says health camp organisers have told Helen Clark and Ruth Dyson that unless they receive $5 million to meet a funding shortfall, they will have no choice but to begin a shutdown programme next week.

“They’ve had no response. In fact, they’ve told me that attempts to make progress with Labour over this have been ‘unfruitful and disturbing’ and they’ve received no assurances for further funding.

“They told the Minister’s officials that it was now inevitable health camps would have to be closed. Incredulously, they were told: ‘if that’s what it takes to keep the service going then that is what it takes’.

“This is an appalling attitude. Ruth Dyson and her officials had until now been telling health camp organisers they value the service. Now they’re not willing to put our money where their mouth is to ensure its survival.

“It’s an utter disgrace that while these health camps teeter on the brink of closure, Labour chooses to embark on a reckless and irresponsible programme of new spending. Labour has made vote-buying a priority over the future of a service which has been a model for other social service agencies since 1919.

“National has committed to working with the community sector to pay the full cost of essential social services.

“We will not let this facility fold. We will ensure health camps are funded adequately and will continue to provide a very important service to the most vulnerable kids in our communities.

“If that means fewer policy analysts and fewer communications staff at the Ministry of Social Development, so be it.”


ENDS

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