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National: looking after its own health

Labour 2000 web site
Labour health spokesperson Annette King has questioned the timing of the announcement of a $35.5 million building programme at Nelson Hospital.

"It seems National is trying to buy votes by building hospitals.

"I am thrilled that Nelsonians are to get access to upgraded facilities. But the Health Minister has made this announcement just seven weeks out from an election, when the project is still two years away - the bulldozers won't be going in until 2001.

"Improvements at Nelson Hospital must not come at a cost to the services offered by the Wairau Hospital in Blenheim.

"While small rural hospitals like Wairau have battled to survive under this National Government, the Health Minister is suddenly able to fund major hospital projects in centres where National is desperate for votes.

"There's $250 million for a new Auckland Hospital, $160 million for Wellington and now $35 million for Nelson. Where's all the money coming from?

"While each of these projects is warranted, the timing of the announcements seems to be driven by political expediency rather than health care needs," Annette King said.

"What about the desperate need for an upgrade of the long-neglected Kew Hospital in Invercargill? Or is the National Government not interested in spending money in a safe Labour seat?"

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