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Health minister evasive over DHB loans

18 March 2012

Health minister evasive over DHB loans

“Official Information Act enquiries by the Democrats for Social Credit (DSC) reveal the weird and wonderful government processes under which DHBs are forced to pay huge interest on loans for capital works,” according to DSC health spokesman David Tranter.

“For example, according to interest figures supplied by Health Minister Tony Ryall, the proposed $38million loan to the West Coast DHB would attract interest of $15,693,367 calculated at simple interest if repaid over 10 years.

“Given the long-standing parlous state of many DHBs’ finances it has to be questioned as to why the public health system is being burdened with such absurd financial arrangements when government could legislate to arrange such loans through the Reserve Bank at minimal rates to cover administrative costs,” Mr. Tranter said.

“However, when I asked Mr. Ryall in my OIA letter why government don’t do this he completely evaded the question by stating that ‘The current policy is for District Health Boards to only be charged a rate of interest to cover the cost of government funds…’, again confirming that this government, like its predecessors, are unwilling to even discuss alternatives to the present nonsensical finance system which is falling apart at the seams on a world-wide basis.

“Equally intriguing is Mr. Ryall’s evasion over where government sources the money for public works loans since my OIA question as to where it comes from was answered, ‘The money for these loans is appropriated by the government and funded through the New Zealand Debt management office’.

“So where does this money that government are charging DHBs for actually come from? It is one of several questions I have sent to Mr. Ryall for clarification,” Mr. Tranter concluded.


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