So, Labour’s brilliant idea in health is to undo community representation and Helen Clark’s own health reforms that created the DHBs in 2000.

This seems to have all the hallmarks of a socialist command and control wet dream.

Even if the reforms had merit, and there is some merit in reforming health, I’m not sure centralising everything, merging 20 different IT systems and handing control to the Wellington bureaucracy is going to be cost effective or have the outcomes the government desires.

The other appalling part of this is the creation of a separate race-based health system as Labour continues to implement its apartheid policies. This is yet another divisive policy initiative that wants to treat Maori as a special class of citizen at the expense of every other race. It is separatist, elitist and wrong.

The BFD. Cartoon credit SonovaMin

Leader of the Opposition Judith Collins has slammed the Government’s proposed new national health service saying that it is the wrong time, will be too centralised in Wellington and that the new proposed Maori Health Authority is a move towards a “separatist model”.

In an interview with Stuff, Collins lashed the new proposal, which would abolish the current District Health Boards and replace it with one big new health authority called Health New Zealand that would be overseen by the Ministry of Health.

Alongside the new Crown entity, a new Maori Health Authority, with both policy capability and commissioning power would also be created. Minister of Health Andrew Little said he expects that legislation will come before parliament by April 2022.

“It’s really important that a big focus is put on primary healthcare. This does not do that, it is setting up a new bureaucracy in a couple of years’ time,” Collins said.

“We have all sorts of issues right now. Now is not the time to be restructuring in the middle of a pandemic and an inability to get vaccines out,” Collins said.

Collins said that a new mega agency wouldn’t necessarily fix poorly performing DHBs.

“One of the reasons is, if you take organisations that are dysfunctional – and some of the DHBs clearly are – and you add them all together, you end up with one big dysfunctional mess, and that is the problem.”

Collins said that National was committed to continuing the DHB model, although possibly not in its current form. She said that pointing the finger for health dysfunction at the feet of DHBs misplaced blame.

“I think what is very clear from the pandemic too is how utterly hopeless the Ministry of Health has been in letting us know what is happening. I wouldn’t just blame the DHBs.”

“If we think for a moment that there are not issues in Northland that are different from Auckland then we are dreaming.”

Collins said that the new system was a rehash of a model, under a 1990s National Government, of Regional Health Authorities which she said failed.

“I’m not sure shifting everything into the bureaucracy in Wellington will make one iota of difference.”

“We have the same thing [centralisation] with the polytechnics under Labour: all that does is push up house prices in Wellington and push up incomes in Wellington,” she said.

Stuff

I’m not really sure that the party that has failed to deliver on Kiwibuild, hasn’t laid even a single millimetre of light rail track and has overseen one expensive boondoggle after another can think that somehow they can wave a magic wand, become competent managers overnight and deliver a massive restructure like this without it costing billions more than planned and failing to deliver the planned improvements.

But I can’t wait for the next phone call between Helen Clark and Jacinda Ardern about these reforms:

“What’s this I hear about you undoing my community health reforms that created the DHBs in 2000 Jacinda?” (** Not an actual quote) The BFD

Secretary to Jacinda: “Prime Minister, it’s Clark on the phone”
PM: “Put him through” [click, click]
PM: “Hi darling, how’s Neve this morning?”
Clark: “Don’t you darling me you stupid little girl”
PM: “Oh shit….”

Labour bit off more than it can chew with Kiwibuild and this is a whole order of magnitude greater. Somehow I can sniff an epic disaster coming out of this.

One thing is for sure, nothing they do will be seen before the next election, and the civil service will drag the whole process into a quagmire which will result in billions being wasted for no discernible benefit.

But will the voters notice?

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Labour Set to Destroy Community-Led Health and Introduce Apartheid System
Cam Slater

Cam Slater

As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news,...