The Government is refusing to say what the $29 million it has set aside for its controversial social bonds programme is for, raising suspicions it is an upfront payment to the project backers, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says.
A briefing paper to Jonathan Coleman and Cabinet committee members notes a key component of the Government’s social bonds model is ‘payment by results’, meaning the Government – or taxpayers – only pays out cash for successful outcomes ‘once they have been delivered and measured’.
Overseas banks and their preferred providers were asked to pitch their ideas for bankrolling the Government’s social bonds scheme to a Dragon’s Den-style panel, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says.
Dragon’s Den was a reality television series where prospective ‘entrepreneurs’ presented ideas to a group of wealthy investors in an attempt to gain funding while offering a stake of the company in return.
The secrecy surrounding the Government’s plans to let private funders invest in mental health services only increases suspicions that the proposal has been ill-thought through, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette Kings says.
“The process with which New Zealanders have learned the Government is about to implement its social bond experiment could hardly have been less transparent.
The Government is using some of the most vulnerable Kiwis as guinea pigs against official advice and in the absence of international evidence that its ‘experiment’ will achieve the desired results, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says.
“A multi-million mental health initiative, to be bank-rolled by private investors, is a disaster in the making.
The Government has been left with egg on its face with Hawke’s Bay District Health Board today giving a plan to outsource hospital food services the thumbs down, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says.
“Doing away with local kitchens by contracting services to hubs operated by a multinational catering company was a crazy idea from the get-go.
The organisation Social Development Minister Anne Tolley has tasked with setting up an emergency hotline for stranded Relationships Aotearoa clients has just lost a bid for a government contract to launch a new national helpline, Labour’s Acting Social Development spokesperson Annette King says.
“Lifeline, one of five agencies MSD is working with to take over clients left in limbo following the closure of Relationships Aotearoa, has been asked to set up a free phone number to help the transition process.
Social Development Minister Anne Tolley has serious questions to answer following the forced closure of Relationships Aotearoa just days after her reassurances she was looking at ways to keep the service operating, Labour’s Acting Social Development spokesperson Annette King says.
“It was only this week that Anne Tolley was talking about the possibility of keeping Relationships Aotearoa – New Zealand’s biggest professional counselling group – on as the Government’s preferred nationwide provider. Contingency plans to transition clients were also discussed.
Today’s announcement by Health Minister Jonathan Coleman that Budget 2015 will include $98 million for elective surgery over three to four years should be seen for what it is – a drop in the bucket in an effort to appease thousands of concerned New Zealanders, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says.
“This will be greeted by the sector with an awful sense of déjà vu. It is a re-announcement with a little gift wrapping.
The rising incidence of rheumatic fever has nothing to do with ‘families having a better understanding of the disease’ as the Health Minister wants us to believe but everything to do with his failure to address the root causes of it, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says.
“It’s time Jonathan Coleman admitted to the real causes of rheumatic fever.