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King Forced To Come Clean

King Forced To Come Clean

Tuesday 16 Sep 2003 Heather Roy Press Releases -- Health

It's no surprise that Health Minister Annette King has made an announcement on $3 maximum prescription charges for Access PHOs, and all PHO patients under 18 - especially in light of the pressure I have been placing on her for answers, ACT New Zealand Health Spokesman Heather Roy said today.

"With answers to my written Parliamentary Questions on this issue due back this week, it was completely foreseeable that the Minister would quickly make a pre-emptive announcement to avoid embarrassment," Mrs Roy said.

"For weeks, Ms King has refused to answer my questions regarding delays to this initiative - delays which were common knowledge in the health sector - and I repeatedly predicted she would make an announcement before confirming the delay in my written questions.

"Now, however, she is trying to hide the deferment of cheaper pharmaceuticals, for young people and working families, by fast-tracking cheaper services for the elderly - which she announced in the dead of night.

"The timing of her statement - released, somewhat fittingly, at the `witching hour' - shows that this is nothing more than a cynical ploy to avoid questions from Opposition MPs and the media, and that she is clearly not on top of her portfolio.

"The Minister raised patients' hopes when she promised cheaper pharmaceuticals by October 1. Those patients must now wait a further six months. Ms King could not even afford the country a bit of good, old-fashioned honesty until threatened with embarrassment. This is not commitment to patient health, it is a commitment to her own skin," Mrs Roy said.

ENDS

For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.

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