Basic blunders and chronic underfunding revealed in Treasury documents obtained by Labour clearly show Health Minister Jonathan Coleman has lost control of his ministry, says Labour’s Health spokesperson David Clark.
“Every New Zealander deserves affordable access to quality healthcare but that basic right is being eroded by chronic underfunding and mistakes that tie up resources.
“The health system is spending an increasing amount of time fixing bureaucratic mistakes rather than delivering frontline services.
“Minister Coleman is simply not across his portfolio. The budget task is the most fundamental one a minister is responsible for. He is accountable to Parliament for the spending, and that is why it is so important for a minister to get this right.
“It is gob-smacking that the Minister claims an overseas trip prevented him from carrying out his job as a minister. When this looks like a possibility, acting ministers are appointed.
“Minister Coleman needs to front up and explain how he is going to address the growing tensions between his ministry and the wider health sector.
“He needs to explain what processes he has put in place to ensure basic blunders don't continue to reoccur, and give a commitment to facilitating the release of Paula Rebstock's damning review of the ministry that has been sitting on his desk for over a month.
“The blunders and lack of transparency in the Ministry and the Minister's office is undermining public confidence in the health sector.
“Labour understands the needs of the health sector and we back all New Zealanders to get the best healthcare that they're entitled to. That's why it's a priority for Labour to restore the missing $2.3 billion in health funding that's occurred under National, and make sure the money is spent well,” says David Clark.