Labour say pre-election promise was not broken, it was never made

Whaleoil election-promises spreadsheet

The NZ Organisation for Rare Disorder claims that Labour have broken a pre-election promise to fund life-saving medicines for patients with rare diseases but the government have responded by saying the promise was never made. Our Whaleoil election-promise spreadsheet does not include the claimed promise.

The country’s biggest charity helping people dealing with rare disorders is upset the Government has gone back on what it says was a multi-million dollar pre-election pledge for rare diseases.

The NZ Organisation for Rare Disorders says it is stunned a $20 million pledge to establish a separate fund that would allow rare disease patients to access life-saving medicines would not go ahead.

However, the now Government says no such amount or policy was ever announced and that money would still be made available for people with rare disorders in other ways such as a pilot programme run by Pharmac.

I wonder what was said or written to give the organisation the false impression that an election pledge had been made by Labour on this issue?

Chief executive Dr Collette Bromhead said the organisation met with two Labour MPs last week where they were told that the $20m funding over four years would not be part of the upcoming Budget.

-NZ Herald

This news is not the only disappointment for the NZ health sector from this government as the new medical training school to train up extra GPs for the provinces also appears to not be going ahead.

The prospect of a new medical school remains up in the air, with the Government yet to commit.

But a National MP fears the proposal is already dead in the water under the Labour-led Government.

In August last year, Bill English – then prime minister – said the Government would establish a new school of rural medicine by 2020 to address the nation’s rural GP shortage.

[…]”[The Government] have got a budget that they are very constrained with at the moment – they’ve run out of money, effectively.

[…] “National had committed to the project.[…]

NZ Rural General Practice Network chief executive Dalton Kelly said the GP shortage is quickly growing worse as an ageing population of GPs retires.

And in 10 years, it’s going to spell trouble.

“We’ve got a really big gap coming forward. We aren’t able to replace those [doctors] retiring.

“There’s a big shortfall coming up … It’ll be enormous.”

[…] “It’s still on the cards,” Wright said.  “The National Government were keen, the Labour Government have said we will probably go to some sort of request for proposal at some point.”

[…] New Zealand imports 1100 doctors each year to fill the gaps in its health workforce, but not many stay long term.

“That is not the best for New Zealand. We should be training them up and retaining our own medical professionals.”

-Stuff

Some wags on the Trademe notice boards suggested that the money was not available because it had all been used up on overseas trips, tax working groups and the Pike River committee.

Others were angry at Grant Robertson, who they claimed had said that there was plenty of money to implement all their election promises. Perhaps Steven Joyce was right about that giant fiscal hole after all.

Credit: SonovaMin


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