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DHBs forced to play financial games

DHBs forced to play financial games to fund services

Tens of millions of precious health dollars per year are being directed away from health services into interest payments as DHBs are forced to borrow to fund their day-to-day services, according to Democrats for Social Credit health spokesman David Tranter.

In March this year total long-term DHB debt stood at $1,007,300,000 while total interest for the year ending March was $76,400,000. These figures only include long-term borrowing by DHBs. In addition some boards had overdraft facilities and/or other debt which is expected to be repaid within 12 months.

“An OIA enquiry sent to all DHBs regarding their individual borrowing produced widely varying responses” Mr. Tranter said. “Lakes District, Hawkes Bay, Mid-central, Southland and West Coast have still not supplied the information well past the proscribed time frame laid down for OIA enquiries. Most that did answer have given fairly full details but the Canterbury board refused to supply interest rates paid, citing a section of the OIA which no other board mentioned”, he said.

As an example of individual DHB borrowing Waikato had borrowing facilities of $15M with Westpac, $20M with the BNZ and intriguingly, a $20M bond with Deutsche Bank. Biggest long-term borrowers were Counties Manakau at $160M and Waitemata at $144M. “Although some boards’ borrowing has been taken over by the Crown Financing Agency they are still charged near to commercial rates and the money is believed to be sourced from overseas-owned banks” Mr. Tranter said.

Democrats for social credit ask why government is leaving district health boards to play international finance games in order to make up their funding shortfalls thereby causing more money to be taken away from health services and falling into overseas hands.

“Under our policies there would no such waste of public money as the health system would be fully funded and, should temporary shortfalls occur, they would be covered by zero interest advances via the Reserve Bank” Mr. Tranter said.


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