"Better late than never" - PSA welcomes would-be PM Coleman’s promise to properly fund health

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Health minister Jonathan Coleman seems to finally have woken up to the fact health is underfunded, the PSA says - as he throws his hat into the ring for the top job.

Dr Coleman told Radio New Zealand there was "always pressure" in health and education and said they needed to be "properly funded" before any tax cut could be promised.

He also promised to provide more community mental health services.

"We applaud Dr Coleman’s statement that health needs more funding - particularly as he’s seemed remarkably resistant to this idea in his time as minister," PSA National Secretary Erin Polaczuk says.

"Perhaps, like any job applicant, he’s now doing his research to impress the selection panel.

"He’s consistently argued that health funding has increased under National, despite figures from Infometrics detailing a $1.7 billion funding gap, and most DHBs facing budget cuts in real terms.

"We welcome his Road To Damascus conversion, and look forward to constructive discussions with him on this point, whether he wins the leadership or not."

Ms Polaczuk says the commitment to provide more community mental health services is particularly welcome.

"The mental health system in New Zealand has been in crisis for some time now, and it’s buckling under the pressure of increased demand.

"We’re heartened that Dr Coleman now sees community services as a priority and we look forward to constructive discussions with him to make them a reality."