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Taxpayers Foot Bill For More Sloppy Spending

Wednesday 7th Jul 1999
Ken Shirley
Media Release -- Health

ACT Health Spokesman Hon Ken Shirley today said the independent audit of the HFA's $7.5 million office fit out was another kick in the guts for hardworking New Zealanders.

"The Minister of Health must give an assurance to New Zealanders that this multi-million dollar fit out will not cost them their place on the waiting list.

"Taxpayers are sick of seeing Government bureaucracies throwing their hard earned money down the plughole. What's worse, in this case, is that the HFA forked out over $7 million to pay for its 'vogue interiors' without even checking that they were getting value for money.

"The HFA's failure to go through the proper tendering procedures and standards to select a consultant to oversee the project highlights a high-handed arrogance and total disregard for the money the Authority was spending.

"New Zealanders don't have the luxury of just going out and spending willy nilly on their home or business renovations. They just can't afford too. The question they are asking is how can the HFA do it?

"Getting the costs of health bureaucracy under control was part of the reason for abandoning the four Regional Health Authorities and consolidating into one Health Funding Authority with the National Office in Wellington.

"The public health sector is notorious for regular and dramatic shifts in its administrative structure which are disruptive and consume millions of precious health dollars."

"The first stage of changes to the health system by separating health funding from the provision of health services is almost finished and every effort must be made to minimise administrative costs.

"In light of the exorbitant cost of these changes I am astounded by the Labour Party's policy of totally abandoning the Health Funding Authority to set up thirteen area health boards.

"Such a move would cost tens of millions of dollars and turn the clock back ten years. The Labour Party must come clean and explain how they would implement such a policy providing detailed figures on what the administrative costs alone would be," said Hon Ken Shirley.


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