New Zealand Labour Party

Canterbury hatchet job a disgrace

The Government’s glib acceptance of advice that the Canterbury District Health Board doesn’t need more money is a hatchet job and a disgrace, says Labour’s Health Spokesperson David Clark.

“To claim that the DHB was using tactics to leverage more public funds ignores the reality of the on-going fallout from the Canterbury earthquakes and the lack of funding to support their population.

“The Government’s briefings completely ignore increased mental health demand as a result of the earthquakes.

“Since the earthquakes in Canterbury, there have been:

  • a 36 per cent increase in adults presenting with Mental Health issues to community      mental health services
  • a 73 per cent increase in child and youth cases
  • a 41 per cent increase in rural cases
  • and a 72 per cent increase in people with Mental Health issues at Emergency Departments      

“On top of this, the Canterbury DHB has not enough funding to manage the costs of the Kaikoura earthquake. This is another drain on their balance sheet. For Jonathan Coleman to ignore the additional costs of the earthquake, is negligent and callous.

“For the Government to attack this hardworking DHB and board, is frankly insulting to staff and everyone who has kept the Canterbury DHB ticking over.

“Canterbury is not the only DHB challenging the Government’s financial competency and short funding. In mid- June the leadership of five DHBs met with the Minister to share concerns widespread in the sector.

“The Government ceded all moral high-ground on budget management by continuing to push incorrect budget figures at DHBs less than a month from the start of the current financial year. The level of financial incompetence demonstrated by the Ministry of Health and its Minister is without precedent. 

“Canterbury is facing real pressures as a result of the gross underfunding and what is needed is Labour’s fresh approach and the restoration of the missing $2.3 billion from the health budget,” says David Clark.