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Minister must reveal koha payments

Minister must reveal koha payments

National is calling for assurances that other health trusts are not giving "koha payments" to so-called voluntary workers in the wake of the payouts to a Maori health trust which ran traditional and spiritual Maori healing services, says Health Spokesperson Dr Lynda Scott.

"The Health Select Committee heard today that there was no obligation on the Ministry of Health to pay Inland Revenue the tax bill for Te Whare Whakapikiora o Te Rangimarie Trust.

"It was a discretionary action. Health dollars are being wasted and this must stop.

"This saga shows there seems to be two standards when it comes to funding health. While Maori providers needed to develop capacity, the delivery of health services must be provided by competent providers.

"I support funding to improve Maori health but often, as this case shows, the mismanagement of it means Maori are the ones who miss out.

"The Minister failed to answer what is the difference between a koha payment for voluntary and a salary. It is crucial this question is answered and koha payments stop.

"We need an official assurance from the Minister that these types of payments are not continuing, and that it is not policy for the Ministry of Health to pay unnecessary outstanding tax bills," Dr Scott said

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