A Labour Government will fully fund the Buller Integrated Family Health Centre in Westport, confirming its commitment to the people of the West Coast and the role of central government to fund essential public services, says Labour’s Health spokesperson David Clark and West Coast –Tasman MP Damien O’Connor.
“The National Government is forcing the West Coast District Health Board to fund the Buller centre through a private funding arrangement with ACC, which is estimated to cost an extra $750 thousand to $1 million out of the board’s operational funding,” says Damien O’Connor.
"That means $750 thousand to $1 million less for West Coast health services, which will instead go into the coffers of ACC’s investment fund.
“This is outrageous. The National Government is abdicating its responsibilities for funding core government services, especially in health.
“In Wellington it’s taken a private benefactor using his own money to build a new much needed children’s hospital. Now they want a third party to fund the new hospital on the Coast. If the Government has one job, this is it. National is failing the people of New Zealand through its lack of investment in health, education and social services,” says David Clark.
“Under the arrangement signed recently, the West Coast District Health Board will enter a lease deal with ACC. The Ministry of Health will fund the project which will be repaid by the WCDHB on completion.
“Who’s paying the doctors and nurses? How many local people will be forced to wait for critical treatment because the funding is paying for the lease instead of health services.
“Local taxpayers are being sold a dud. Why are we paying taxes if it’s not to fund core services such as this? A Labour government will not allow this to happen and will do what it’s been elected to do and take care of essential health services,” says Damien O’Connor.