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Fewer bureaucrats, huge savings

2000 web siteLabour's plan to scrap the Health Funding Authority will save the taxpayer tens of millions of dollars and produce a simpler, more streamlined health bureaucracy, Labour health spokesperson Annette King said today.

Annette King strongly rejected suggestions that returning the authority's functions to the Ministry of Health amounted to change for change's sake.

"It is nonsense to argue that we should stick with the present cumbersome system because some people feel they've "had enough" of restructuring. The present system is far from ideal. We have two Crown agencies competing to be the lead advisor to the government on health.

"That's what Labour wants to get rid of.

"It has been clearly demonstrated that there will eventually be savings of tens of millions of dollars through moving to a simpler system. Those savings can be put into high priority health spending.

"Labour is determined to introduce more efficiency and public accountability in health. That is why we will establish district health boards made up of a majority of elected representatives from local communities..

"Communities have been demanding a greater say and more democracy in decision-making on health. A recent survey showed that 67 per cent of New Zealanders wanted to change the health system, and only 8 per cent supported the status quo.

"At present we have 21 unelected health boards filled with faceless business people, who are receiving $3.8 million a year in directors' fees. Under Labour that will end and we will return to a health system which allows ordinary people to have a say," Annette King said.

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