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Lets Get The Record Straight

John Hayes
Wairarapa Candidate National
8 September 2005

Lets Get The Record Straight

National Party candidate John Hayes says in response to a Press Statement released by the Hon Ruth Dyson on behalf of the Wairarapa Labour candidate that Mackenzie was wrong to assert that National “is promising only $35 million for aged residential care while Labour has promised $70 million. Nationals policy outlined below commits $78 million to address the past six years of aged care funding.

Mackenzie also overlooks the issue that Labour has had six years to address the issue of under funding the aged and did nothing except short change our senior citizens. In Mackenzies own patch, the Wharekaka home in Martinborough, is running a deficit of $19 per bed per day. In Pahiatua the Waireka home is a million dollars in overdraft. Hayes said future generations will judge us by how we look after we look after our senior citizens. One of the reasons he was standing for the electorate seat was to do a better job in this area.

Hayes went on to say that
* Under Labour, the aged residential care sector has suffered enormous uncertainty and growing financial pressure, with 40 rest homes closing in the past few years.
* Labour ignored the PricewaterhouseCoopers Report of 2000, and this has led to the present crisis.
* National has already committed $19 million per annum to fund homecare workers’ travel costs.
* Health Care Providers New Zealand, the umbrella body for residential, dementia, and hospital aged care, has stressed that a first priority is to remove the uncertainty around negotiating an inflation adjustment with the 21 DHBs. National will ensure the inflation adjustment is passed on to the providers in a timely way so that they can plan with confidence. The adjustment is worked out as 35% of CPI and 65% of Labour Cost Index, and at 3% a year comes to around $24 million annually, exclusive of GST.
* National will also commit a further $35 million per year into the Aged Residential Care contract from April 1, 2006 as the second step to addressing Labour’s serious under-funding. It will help cope with wage pressures flowing on from wage increases within the DHBs. We will ensure that the funding does flow through the DHBs to the sector.
* National is thus committing $59 million to funding the aged care sector, in addition to the $19 million for homecare workers’ travel costs.
* National will work with the sector to find a sound basis for policies to sustain the sector in the future.

ENDS

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