“Think beyond Band-Aids”, PSA urges Government

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The Labour-led Government must urgently relax its Budget Responsibility Rules to tackle the $2.7 billion hole in the health budget, the PSA says.

Pre-budget analysis by the Council of Trade Unions and the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists shows the Government would need to spend that much to restore services to the level they were in 2010, and fund new initiatives.

“Like all New Zealanders, I am deeply worried about the funding shortfall in health – a direct result of nearly a decade of underinvestment by National,” PSA National Secretary Erin Polaczuk says.

“This research indicates maintaining services and funding existing commitments will take more than a billion dollars – more than Labour indicated was available in its pre-election Fiscal Plan.

“PSA members have waited nine years for this and they deserve to know the Government’s committed to a better system.”

Ms Polaczuk says although it will take more than one Budget to undo the shortfall, the government must commit to fully funding Equal Pay settlements.

“Administration and clerical workers have just raised their Equal Pay claim.

“They keep the health system on its feet and yet are some of the poorest-paid workers – they need to know the money is there.”

Ms Polaczuk also says the government must commit to adopting and fully funding the recommendations that come from the Inquiry into Mental Health and Addictions.

“We agree with the CTU and ASMS – to make real progress, the Government must relax the Budget Responsibility Rules.

“This Budget should move Vote Health in the right direction, but Labour needs to think beyond Band-Aids.

“National has left a gaping wound in our health system, and we need to see this Government is serious about making it better.”