The Nation: Coleman v Clark on health


There will be a debate this morning on The Nation on health spending, between the Minister of Health Jonathan Coleman, and Labour’s health spokesperson David Clark. These two have clashed a number of times in Parliament.

Health is on of the biggest issues of concern to New Zealanders. In the latest Herald-ZB-Kantar TNS online survey of 1000 voters…asked which of eight issues was most likely to affect their vote:

  • Economy 25%
  • Health 16%
  • Housing 12%

You need a healthy economy to provide good health care (and housing).

Providing healthcare is very expensive. here will never be enough money to provide all the health care wanted. Governments have to balance health spending against need and against other spending demands.

Labour have claimed that health funding has been effectively cut.

Stuff: Frustration, disappointment over health funding in Budget 2017

Patients and healthcare workers say they have been left frustrated and disappointed by “inadequate” funding for health in the 2017 Budget.

They said the Government’s announcements on Thursday would not go nearly far enough in addressing concerns about overworked staff, access to new medicines, and access to mental health treatment.

The Government said total health spending would be a record $16.77 billion in 2017/18 – an increase of $879 million, with an overall increase of $3.9b over the next four years.

However, the record claim does not take inflation into account, and sidesteps the fact that almost half the spending will go toward mandated wage increases as part of the pay equity settlement.

Budget 2017: Health funding to record levels with $1.7b injection to DHBs 

A strained health sector is set to receive a record $3.9b shot in the arm, with $1.8b going to District Health Boards (DHBs) alone.

While DHBs funding is above the $1.7b figure Labour claims has been stripped out of the health service, the Council of Trade Unions is warning the devil is in the detail.

The increase to DHB funding has built on previous years – going up to $1.8b across four years, up from $1b last year. As a yearly figure, DHBs will get $439m, up from last year’s $400m.



  1. Patzcuaro

     /  September 2, 2017

    National appears to be on the back foot on health, DHB have been under funded and health care has slipped.

    I didn’t catch all the debate but it sounds like Paddy Gower asked both Clark & Coleman for one idea that wouldn’t cost anything but would improve health care. Apparently neither had an idea but the panel at the end suggested cutting the number of DHB from 20 to 4. There would be big savings in administration which could be transferred to front line health care.

    • adamsmith1922

       /  September 2, 2017

      Why 4 arguably 2 or none just 1 agency for delivery

  2. Zedd

     /  September 2, 2017

    interesting.. comment from Ms Harre; a judge recently stated that 80% of cases relating to mental health were done via ‘law & order’; fighting alcohol/other drugs issues, rather than to educate & treat people. She stated that the judge had said ‘if was the other way around’, he would face redundancy & is this the real reason why Police, customs, courts & prisons, fight to ensure status quo rather than actual harm reduction strategies ?

    • Give us a few of those ideas where MH sufferers are or have committed crimes, that don’t begin with placating, pacifying the sufferer in some manner first.

  3. Blazer

     /  September 2, 2017

    Clark shows potential,has a good grasp of the portfolio.Coleman is in the mould of English,impassive and dry,looks humourless and …combustible.

    • Patzcuaro

       /  September 2, 2017

      Clark came across as the better of the two, more animated, maybe the National ministers are just weary. Currently in health the National government is on the back foot so being the challenger is easier than the defender.

  4. Zedd

     /  September 2, 2017

    natz have continued just throwing around ‘we are spending more & doing more than anyone ever did’
    is anyone fact checking it, sounds very trump-esq to mee

    coleman would be more credible, if he tried to at least look less smug/know it all !