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Creech okays chair sell-off: Labour

2000 web siteThere is something rotten in the health system and the Government's failure to spend health dollars wisely has again been graphically demonstrated, Labour health spokesperson Annette King said.

"New Zealanders are astonished that perfectly good office chairs are being sold off by the Health Funding Authority at bargain prices, to be replaced by whiz-bang imported American chairs worth $1000 each.

"The Health Minister doesn't seem to know what is going on. There are only two options: either he misled Parliament, or he was lied to by HFA officials.

"Mr Creech told Parliament on April the 27th that "the old chairs are going… to the other Health Funding Authority centres. They are all being used in other parts of New Zealand."

"The Minister now admits that this is wrong and says he was wrongly advised. According to the HFA "some" chairs have gone to the Dunedin office. The rest have gone or are about to go under auction.

"Mr Creech was a strident defender of the HFA, even as the evidence of wasteful spending mounted higher and higher. Today in Parliament, his associate Health Minister Georgina Te Heu Heu continued to defend the indefensible. Office chairs that are just two years old have been sold at auction for as little as $65, to be replaced by imported chairs costing $1000 each. What was Mrs Te Heu Heu's reaction? "No doubt there are very good reasons why those decisions were made."

"The Minister is palpably wrong. There are no acceptable reasons for wasting valuable health dollars when tens of thousand of people can't get the treatment they need.

"When an independent audit was critical of the HFA's shift into new premises and the lavish refurbishment that went with it, Wyatt Creech described it as a serious wake-up call for the HFA.

"It's also a wake-up call for the Minister of Health. Come November, the voters will ensure he has plenty of time to reflect on his mistakes."

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