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Middle NZ's protection from the health privatizers

14 October 2004

Middle New Zealand needs protection from the health privatizers

The health funding issues raised in a Health Funds Assocication-commissioned report released today serve as a useful reminder that fully funded public healthcare must be protected in the future, says Progressive leader Jim Anderton.

"This report could be used by the ACT-National alliance to force a full, user-pays health system on to thousands of middle income New Zealand households.

"According to the ACT-National group, people earning $38,000 or more should pay more for their basic services.

"The good news is that we have a progressive government, not a reactionary one.

"We have a government that looks at the evidence and doesn't come up with Cargo Cult policies that would rip this nation apart," the Progressive Party leader said.

In 1975, health accounted for 16.5 per cent of government expenditure.

By 1990, this had been eroded to 12.9 per cent and it is only now, after five years of progressive government, that we are now again approaching the levels of investment that we had back in 1975, Jim Anderton said.

It is forecast that by 2005 government investment in health will total 15.5 per cent of its total expenditure, up from 14.9 per cent in 2004.

"Progressive Party policy supports even bigger increases in preventative health care investment by the government, not less as proposed in this report.

"Crucifying middle New Zealand isn't financially responsible, nor will it deliver a healthier and happier future.

"The only long-term solution to under-funding in health in the 1980s and 1990s, is to fully fund the public healthcare system.

"So long as we have a progressive government, then the health and well-being of all New Zealanders will remain a major social and economic responsibility of government," Jim Anderton said.

ENDS

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