The duplicity of Labour and Annette King

Annette King has made a big song and dance, along with her Media party pals, about?pain threshold for patients needing surgery.

She has claimed it has increased, but the DHBs have busted her by revealing her researchers asked separate questions which they then conflated to allegedly mislead the house.

Shots have been fired over surgical figures, with the Health Minister accusing Labour’s Annette King of misleading Parliament by claiming Auckland DHB had raised its pain threshold for patients needing surgery.

Auckland DHB has hit back saying it has not, and Health Minister Jonathan Coleman has accused King of deliberately “fudging the facts’.

Misleading the house is a serious offence, which in some situations is dealt with by the privileges committee and the House has the ability to punish someone for contempt if that person is found to have deliberately misled it.

Misleading the house is pretty serious, but then again misleading everyone is par for the course with Labour.

The data also lead to a number of news reports, based on Labour’s interpretation.

King said she would not be apologising in the house, and she countered that Coleman was ignoring the “pain and suffering of people like Ken Smith of Napier”.

King also sought leave to re-table the same documents, but was refused.

She cited MidCentral DHB orthopaedic surgeon Dr Geoff Anderson who has publicly said it was harder to get a knee replacement on the public purse now, than it was four years ago.

Outside the house, she said Coleman was “dancing on the head of a pin”.

“There is no denying that the threshold has gone up, and he even said in the [original report] that they go up and down over time.

“Today he was trying to discredit it, by saying I got it wrong; I don’t believe I have got it wrong.”

Well, did she?

The allegations centred on figures tabled in the house last week, which King said showed Auckland DHB had lifted the points threshold for patients to qualify for hip and knee surgery from 50 points in 2013, to 70 points.

But Auckland DHB has disputed their use, saying Labour’s research arm asked two different questions over the two information requests, with the 2015 request only asking for the average [Clinical Priority Assessment Criteria] score for those who had qualified.

“This is a different question, and refers to the average acuity (severity of the condition) for patients who had received surgery for their hip or knee. We said 70.

“This is not the threshold for treatment,” a DHB spokesman said.

“The requests were for two different pieces of information which were provided. The two responses are not comparable as the request was for two different pieces of information.

“The threshold for patients to receive surgery was 50 in 2013 and remains so today. The conclusion drawn is incorrect.”

It looks like she did get it wrong and deliberately so. Perhaps this is why Labour keep getting polling wrong. They ask the wrong questions then conflate the answers as the same thing. It is probably why Annette King keeps telling caucus that Labour’s rolling average is around 32% when it is several points lower than that.

This is also the third time that Labour has misread or deliberately manipulated data for their own ends.


– Fairfax