Health cuts inevitable under Goldsmith’s bungled budget

New analysis indicates National hasn’t allocated enough in Paul Goldsmith’s error-ridden budget for new health spending, which would mean health services would have to be cut during a global pandemic.

“New health funding for DHBs over each of the previous six Budgets – including three under National – averaged $767 million each year. But Paul Goldsmith only has $814 million for all new cost pressures across the entire Government Budget next year, and $704 million the year after,” Labour Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson said.

“This year’s Budget alone allocated an extra $980 million to fund DHBs for inflation and population changes, before additional costs from COVID-19 were taken into account. National are short before you even look at the extra funding for education, police and other essential services,” Labour Health spokesperson Chris Hipkins said.

“In the middle of a global pandemic they are effectively proposing service cuts to healthcare, putting New Zealanders’ health at risk.”

“National is a mess. It’s clear that the constant changes in leadership and the instability within the party is leading to basic mistakes. It’s hard to imagine Bill English or John Key not picking up on the need to fund inflation and population changes,” Grant Robertson said.

“The Pre-Election Economic and Fiscal Update shows the Government hasn’t overlooked health, with operating allowances of $2.4 billion for 2021/22 and 2022/23 leaving appropriate room. In contrast, National allocated $1.5 billion and $1.8 billion – but it has already spent half of that on election promises, leaving $814 million and $704 million, respectively. 

“It looks like Paul Goldsmith has forgotten to allocate enough money to keep our hospitals, schools and other essential services running.

“You can’t trust National with health. At the moment the very small amount set aside is looking a lot like their latest budget mistake,” Grant Robertson said.

“We inherited nine years of neglect from National in health that we can’t afford a repeat of. But this chaotic duo of Collins and Goldsmith are making one budget mistake after another.  

“This Government has made record investments in health because we know how important it is. We will keep moving forward and protecting New Zealanders’ health and wellbeing,” Chris Hipkins said. 

In the past three years significant progress has been made strengthening our public health services, with major achievements including:

  • $455 million to build new, free frontline mental health services 
  • A 20 per cent boost to PHARMAC’s medicines budget taking it to $1.045 billion per year
  • $282.5 million dollar catch-up campaign for planned care in response to COVID-19 disruption
  • A record capital investment of $3.5 billion into new and upgraded hospitals and health facilities
  • Cheaper doctor’s visits for 600,000 Kiwis
  • Rebuilding our DHB workforce with an extra 2000 nurses, 1070 doctors and 1020 allied health professionals
  • Established the Cancer Control Agency and invested in 12 new linear accelerators
  • Rolled out the National Bowel Screening Programme to 11 DHBs, with the rest due to follow by the end of next year
  • We’ve put mental health support in all primary and intermediate schools in Canterbury and Kaikoura through Mana Ake, and free support for 18-24 year olds in Wellington and Wairarapa through Piki