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The HFA - a waste of money

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Too many precious health dollars are being diverted from hip operations into the hip pockets of overpaid bureaucrats, Labour MP Trevor Mallard said today.

Mr Mallard has obtained a copy of the Health Funding Authority's annual report for the year ended June, which has not previously been made public.

"Information contained in the report only serves to reinforce Labour's determination to absorb the HFA into the Ministry of Health.

"The former chief executive of the HFA Phil Pryke was paid an outrageous $27,000 a month. But unjustified spending on managers has continued since his departure.

"An interim CEO Sally Wilkinson was appointed on the 14th of June. Her salary was publicly stated to be "$240,000 a year…with no perks or bonuses." (Dom. 18th June). Yet the annual report reveals a pay rise within two weeks: it puts her remuneration at between $250,000 and $260,000 pa.

"Even that inflated sum - which is more than the director-general of health or the Prime Minister receives - isn't enough to make Ms Wilkinson the HFA's highest paid employee. Six other HFA staff receive over $180,000 a year, including one person who receives over $260,000 a year.

"On top of that, the HFA's part-time directors get almost half a million dollars a year in fees. The chairman, Graham Scott, received $117,000.

"This ludicrous spending on bureaucrats is driven by the National Government's desire to distance itself from decision-making on health matters. As a result we've seen the HFA acting with brazen disregard for the taxpayers interests. $7.5 million was wasted on fancy new offices and the impotent Minister Wyatt Creech was reduced to writing a letter of complaint.

"Under a Labour government, the Minister of Health will accept fully accountability for decisions about the direction of health policy, funding levels and funding mechanisms. We will reduce the levels of bureaucracy by at least a quarter and the HFA will go," Trevor Mallard said.

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