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$2.3 billion shortfall in health

The funding needed for health to be restored to the level it was seven years ago to keep pace with cost pressures has widened to a massive $2.3 billion, says Labour Leader Andrew Little. 

“We used to have a health system that was the envy of the world, where people could access quality, free health care. As a parent, it saddens me that families are not getting the health services this country should be providing.

“The gap is why mental health care is in crisis and patients are being discharged into caravan parks, it’s why people aren’t going to the doctor because of rising fees, and it’s why elective surgery is becoming harder to qualify for. 

“The huge sums of money missing from health are why workers in the sector are overstretched, exhausted and operating without the resources they need to care for Kiwi patients properly. 

“The updated study by economic consultants Infometrics, commissioned by Labour, sees the gap since 2009/10 in core crown health expenditure that is required to meet cost pressures grow from $1.7 billion last year to $2.3 billion by June 2018. Infometrics used Treasury’s own modelling for calculating real health costs for core crown health expenditure. 

“This funding shortfall was not addressed in National’s latest Budget. This gap in health spending is a result of eight years of the Government ignoring growing demographic and inflationary pressures. 

“Infometrics has costed in the $279 million for care and support workers that is currently before Parliament. If that had been excluded then the funding gap would have been even bigger at $2.6 billion. 

“This funding shortfall is just another glaring example of how National after nine years has steadily eroded New Zealand’s social foundations.  It would rather cut taxes than deal with urgent needs across health, education and housing. 

“Labour will restore the health funding shortfall over time. What we urgently need is a fresh approach so all New Zealanders can access the care they need, when they need it,” says Andrew Little.

Read the Infometrics report here.