Middlemore mould, health budget hole, the budget

Since the new Government took over there seems to have been a reduction in stories about hard done by beneficiaries and people living rough. But there has been a lot of lobbying going on before new Minister of Finance Grant Robertson’s first budget – nurses want more money, so do teachers, and health is always short of funds.

The Government is faced with a difficult decision over a new prison to cater for growing prisoner numbers. They have committed to a number of costs like benefit increases, the the ‘winter heating’ handout, free university fees, NZ First has been given a billion dollars a year to dole out to regions, and a major shift in transport funding has just been announced.

There’s been a number of curious things coming out about health and hospitals, perhaps not coincidentally leading up to next month’s budget. Is the public being prepared for a policy switch to justify increased health spending? More tax or more debt?

Suddenly it seems it has been discovered that there are major mould problems with multiple buildings at Middlemore Hospital.

Earlier this week – Ardern: Don’t blame us for health sector problems

The Prime Minister says National would have known the shortfall in the health spend when they were in government.

Jacinda Ardern says there’s a hole of around $10 billion – and that’s one of the reasons why her Government cancelled planned tax cuts scheduled for this month.

“I would have thought a minister of health would probably know that,” Ardern says.

Ardern says for National to claim they knew nothing about things like the mould at Middlemore Hospital is disingenuous.

Staff at Middlemore have also claimed they knew nothing about it.

“One of the latest emerging problems is the news that the buildings at Middlemore Hospital have become rotten and infested with a toxic black mould. I found out in the middle of a late-night ward round from a Radio NZ journalist who phoned seeking comment – I had none, because it was news to me. The next morning, the rest of our staff and all of New Zealand heard the story and over the next few days there followed a confusion of detail about the extent of the problems and who knew what when.”

https://thespinoff.co.nz/society/03-04-2018/the-toxic-mould-and-rot-of-middlemore-is-the-legacy-of-a-crisis-in-values/

So has the mould information only just come out, or did the last Minister of Health keep it a secret for this long?

Ardern:

“It is worse than we thought, when we look at the capital needs of hospitals and health in particular, [and] also the deficits DHBs are facing, it is worse than I anticipated.”

Blaming the previous Government is normal, as is acting surprised about higher costs than anticipated.

If people don’t pay as much on tax they can afford to spend more on health perhaps.

I would have thought that Steven Joyce would have proved the $11.7 billion hole existed if he could. Was he right, but hid details?

Or is Labour now trying to claim they have been duped?

It’s hard to know whether some of this is part or a PR plan or not, softening the public up for ‘unexpected’ increases in budget costs, and a sudden need to fund this through more taxes. National sort of did that by increasing GST, but they also decreased personal tax rates and had a Global Financial Crisis to deal with.

It’s hard to trust either Labour or National as they throw around blame and claims and money.

Talking of $11.7 billion, this may be just a coincidence, but the same number was noticed here:

 

 

19 Comments

  1. David

     /  April 8, 2018

    I am putting my money on it being spin, the coalition has no money to do anything because it promised the public it would be fiscally responsible and despite vast improvements in health they will use this as the trojan horse to renege.

    • Blazer

       /  April 8, 2018

      so why does Coleman hang up when questioned on..it?

    • PDB

       /  April 8, 2018

      Sounds like the usual Labour route for getting out spin – a friendly RNZ reporter lays the seed of the story (one which even Middlemore staff appear unaware from) and then everybody jumps on the bandwagon and the missing $10 billion odd from Labour’s budget is magically found in extra borrowing and no doubt an excuse to further reneg on election promises. Of course it also takes all the recent bad press off the new govt.

      Offering only a 2% wage rise to nurses has been embarrassing for the govt so look for a decent increase for nurses in the budget with the costs paid for with this extra $10 billion they have suddenly discovered needs to be injected into health. Joyce was clear that either Labour had a financial hole OR they had no money to cover things like increased wages for public servants over their term.

      The same RNZ-connection thing happened when Turei was confronted by RNZ reporters with information they had that proved she was lying thus forcing her resignation. No doubt this information came from the family of the father of Turei’s child, if not the ex-Labour MP grandmother herself;

      NZ Herald: “Radio NZ reported this afternoon that a person close to Turei had alleged that the MP had received significant support from her daughter’s grandparents while she was on the benefit in the 1990s.”

      Stuff: “The claims made to RNZ included that Piupiu was loved and supported by extended family including her paternal grandmother, former North Shore Mayor and Labour MP Ann Hartley.”

      • Blazer

         /  April 8, 2018

        so on one hand -the Turei story you approve of the ‘friendly’ RNZ reporter,but on the other hand-Middlemore story….you disapprove!

        • PDB

           /  April 8, 2018

          Where did I express approval/disapproval of either scenario? Both situations are similar because they both benefited Labour;

          *Destroy Turei who was stealing all their pre-election coverage and stealing their voters.
          *Get an anti-National story out into the public domain to set the scene for further borrowing/taxes and get the MSM off their back regarding their recent balls-ups.

        • David

           /  April 8, 2018

          Totally different scenarios Blazer, deflection at best.

  2. david in aus

     /  April 8, 2018

    “Since the new Government took over there seems to have been a reduction in stories about hard done by beneficiaries and people living rough” It’s an interesting observation and something that many others have noticed.
    It would be great if political scientists made a study out of this. It suggests that many ‘stories’ are agenda driven. If those highlighted issues were significant, it isn’t fixed after a few months.
    Moreover, “documentaries” like ‘Child-Poverty’ (state-funded) before an election are electioneering dressed as “documentaries’. It is like John Pilger’s docos or Fox opinion pieces being claimed as Fair-and-Balanced.

    • Blazer

       /  April 8, 2018

      I have seen alot of Pilgers work…any in particular you take as not being..factual.?

      • David

         /  April 8, 2018

        Pliger summed up in a single sentence;

        “Pilger’s documentaries are full of falsehoods. They operate by misdirection, simultaneously denouncing one form of injustice while ignoring or denying others”

        • Blazer

           /  April 8, 2018

          so you concede they are factual,just not about topics that resonate with your …beliefs.

          • David

             /  April 8, 2018

            No I don’t. How do you manage to leap from a quote that clearly states ‘full of falsehoods’ to ‘factual’?

            Are you Pilger by any chance? That leaping from falsehood to ‘fact’ is exactly one of his tricks he uses to mislead and lie.

      • david in aus

         /  April 8, 2018

        I have a suspicion that you couldn’t detect Fair-and-Balanced documentaries if it bludgeoned you in the nether-regions.

  3. Kitty Catkin

     /  April 8, 2018

    I suppose that they’ll drop off a load of bleach and mops at the hospital.

  4. phantom snowflake

     /  April 8, 2018

    The former Counties Manukau District Health Board chair, Lee Mathias, says it was common knowledge there was mould within the walls of Middlemore Hospital buildings when she headed the board.
    http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/morningreport/audio/2018637396/middlemore-mould-most-staff-knew-ex-chair-lee-mathias

    • david in aus

       /  April 8, 2018

      Thanks, phantom-snowflake. From memory, I think the previous board member was correct, that leaky buildings were a known issue at Middlemore with their new buildings. It does jog my memory as a previous staff member. They were fixing those things more than 5 years ago.

      If it is an established open issue, the question arises: why are people or the Labour government making such a big song-and-dance about it?

      Obviously, they want to change the current political narrative, away from the tax increases and incompetence; and into “neglect of health services” perhaps justifying future tax increases.

      They wanted to shock people to say this was a cover-up and neglected infrastructure by the last government. The interview of Lee Mathias really exposes the story.

      Another attempt to change the political narrative by Labour and their acolytes, but once people are aware of the stitch-up, this may backfire.

  1. Middlemore mould, health budget hole, the budget — Your NZ – NZ Conservative Coalition