Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 


Dunne Speaks

Dunne Speaks

6 March 2014

Every now and then, and usually in hushed tones, the question is asked about how affordable our public health system will be in the future. Especially so as the baby boomers age, and demand more care, and the level of medical knowledge and technical skill continues to grow. And like ice-warnings delivered to the bridge of the Titanic, it is quickly dismissed. After all, thanks to the funding injections of the last two governments, elective surgery waiting lists are largely under control, and health is rarely the front page issue it used to be a decade or so ago. As all is sailing smoothly, why rock the boat?

While there is no immediate crisis, there is no immediate concern. The good ship Public Health is in good hands, sailing serenely on untroubled waters. Or so it seems, Captain Smith.

The one thing any long-term student of health politics quickly understands is that insatiable health demands always outstrip the conventional capacity to provide. So another funding crisis is at some point inevitable, and the application of traditional methods of response, such as the injection of more taxpayer funds, is becoming more and more constrained.

A game-changer is needed. Many governments, in Europe particularly, have already moved towards comprehensive insurance based health care provision. Holland and Spain are prominent examples, but they are by no means alone. Fine Gael, the current lead party of the Irish Government produced its own plan for a comprehensive health insurance scheme a few years ago. Given the similarities between Ireland’s and New Zealand’s economies and societies, Fine Gael’s scheme merits more than passing attention in our country.

And there are other examples, far closer to home, we ought to think about. The most visionary was Australia’s Whitlam Government in the early 1970s with its comprehensive Medicare programme which was never fully realised because of the near decade of conservative governments after 1975. And New Zealand moved significantly in that direction at about the same time with the introduction of the comprehensive no-fault personal injury Accident Compensation scheme. While the Woodhouse principles on which ACC was founded have been compromised somewhat over the years, the essential framework remains intact.

The opportunity is thus there already to establish a comprehensive national health insurance scheme for all New Zealanders by building on and expanding the coverage provided by ACC.

This will not happen overnight, just as the shift to cradle to grave social security did not automatically follow the election of Michael Joseph Savage in 1935. It will take commitment and dedication, persistence and determination, and possibly a support party pushing for a government to investigate such a scheme as part of a confidence and supply agreement for the idea to get the traction it needs to take off. But as the days start to lengthen, the skies begin to grey, and the whiff of ice increases, the Captain Smiths on the bridge may just start to think this is a course adjustment worth making.

Ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On Populism And Labour 2017

For many people on the centre-left, populism is a dirty word, and a shorthand for the politics of bigotry. In this country, it has tended to be equated with the angry legions of New Zealand First. Who knew they were not just a reactionary spasm, but the wave of the future?

Certainly, at the end of this week, the next US President will have won office (at least in part) thanks to his proven ability at (a) scapegoating refugees and migrants (b) wooing neo-Nazis and racial supremacists (c) attacking journalists and judges (d) threatening to jail his opponents (e) urging nuclear proliferation and (e) by promising to restrict women’s rights to control their own fertility.

On the face of that campaign record, there wouldn’t seem to be much in common between Donald Trump and say, Spain’s centre-left populist party, Podemos. Yet arguably, the similarities could be instructive for the Labour/Green partnership here. More>>

 
 

Oxfam: 30% Of NZ Owns Less Wealth Than Our Two Richest Men

The research also reveals that the richest one per cent have 20 per cent of the wealth in New Zealand, while 90 per cent of the population owns less than half of the nation’s wealth. The research forms part of a global report released to coincide with this week’s annual meeting of political and business leaders at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. More>>

ALSO:

Hospitals: Resident Doctors Set To Strike Again

Despite discussions between the DHBs and NZRDA over safer hours for resident doctors progressing during the last week, the strike planned for next week appears set to proceed. More>>

ALSO:

Not So Super Fund: More Burning Ethical Questions For Steven Joyce

Greens: Radio New Zealand reported this morning that the New Zealand Superfund has $77 million invested in 47 coal companies that the Norwegian Government’s Pension Fund – the largest sovereign fund in the world – has blacklisted. More>>

Activism: Greenpeace Intercepts World’s Biggest Seismic Oil Ship

Greenpeace crew have made contact with the world’s biggest seismic oil ship after travelling 50 nautical miles on two rigid-hulled inflatables off the coast of Wairarapa... Greenpeace radioed the master of the Amazon Warrior to deliver an open letter of protest signed by over 60,000 New Zealanders. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: Why Tax Cuts In 2017 Would Be A (Proven) Bad Idea

Ever since the world fell prey to the mullahs of the free market in the 1980s, no amount of real world evidence has managed dispel one key tenet of their economic faith. Namely, the idea that if you cut income taxes and taxes on small business, a wave of individual enterprise and entrepreneurial energy will thus be unleashed, profits will rise and – hey bingo! – the tax cuts will soon be paying for themselves ... More>>

Liquor Sponsorship: Researchers Call For Ban On Alcohol Sponsorship Of Sport

“Due to alcohol sponsorship of sport, New Zealanders, including children, were exposed to up to 200 ads per hour they watched televised sport, and people watching football and tennis saw alcohol ads for almost half of each game,” says Associate Professor Signal. More>>

ALSO:

Mt Albert: Ardern For Labour, Genter For Greens

At the close of nominations, Jacinda Ardern was the sole nomination received for the position of Labour’s candidate for the Mt Albert by-election, says Labour General Secretary, Andrew Kirton. More>>

ALSO:

Earlier:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Parliament
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news