The Government has dumped the cost of health workers' Kiwisaver schemes on to District Health Boards, putting further pressure on budgets that are not keeping up with inflation and an ageing population, says Labour's Health spokesperson Grant Robertson.
"The Government has decided that the cost of the employer contribution for state sector employees' KiwiSaver schemes will now not be paid centrally but by the direct employers of Kiwisaver members," Grant Robertson said.
"This will put significant additional costs on District Health Boards, an estimated $40-50 million in the first year. They have been delivered the second budget in a row that fails to meet the costs of delivering current services.
"The inevitable consequence of this will be a loss of health services for New Zealanders. The Government is crowing that they have spent a record amount of money on health this year. That is disingenuous," Grant Robertson said.
"Most families probably spent a record amount on their groceries this week, but they were not able to buy as many products. The same applies for the health system. Costs are going up and the population is growing and ageing. Over the Budget cycle the health budget is hundreds of millions of dollars short of meeting these costs and services will be lost as a result.
"While the Budget contains some welcome spending on rheumatic fever prevention and dementia care, it takes hundreds of millions of dollars away from public health, primary health and workforce training," Grant Robertson said. "The Minister is prepared to take money from measures that are designed to keep New Zealanders healthy, and put it into expensive late stage 'ambulance at the bottom of the cliff' style policies.
"The Minister has his priorities in health wrong. He should be investing more in early intervention that will help Kiwis stay healthy, but instead he is focused on his own politically manufactured targets. "Labour will increase the priority of primary care and preventative approaches that will both improve health outcomes and save the country money in the long term," Grant Robertson said.
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