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Sadsack Santa Ryall guts water scheme for Xmas

21 December 2010
Media Statement

Sadsack Santa Ryall guts water scheme for Xmas

Health Minister Tony Ryall has gutted the drinking water subsidy scheme as his Christmas present to small communities all round New Zealand, says Labour’s Water spokesman Brendon Burns.

“Tony Ryall called for a review of the scheme 15 months ago, and it’s been in limbo ever since,” Brendon Burns said.

“Now, four days before Christmas, he’s delivered small communities suffering from poor water quality the blow they have been dreading.

“I understand there’s about $80 million left in the fund Labour established to help small communities,” Brendon Burns said.

“Tony Ryall’s miserable compromise --- following his unnecessary review --- is to make $10 million a year available every year until 2015. That cuts out half the pot straight off.

“His second ‘initiative’ is to reduce the subsidy for communities under 5000 from 95 percent to 85 percent. This will make it very difficult for some poorer communities, particularly small rural Maori communities with high unemployment, to find the extra they need.

“Tony Ryall arrogantly claims that he is about improving frontline health services,” Brendon Burns said.

“There’s no improvement here. What can be a greater health priority than safe drinking water?”

ENDS

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