Health restructure alarming


Torrential rain earlier this month played havoc in Oamaru affecting many businesses.

This included my electorate office, which was flooded and was closed while the damage was assessed. My incredibly resilient team continued to work from home to support me in supporting you and are now making do, back in the office while repairs are made.

As always, if you require any support because of these events, don’t hesitate to contact me.

April was a busy month as we had the Government’s announcement of the health restructure, and the transtasman bubble finally opened.

I find the Government’s health restructure incredibly alarming, as it will reduce the voice of local people in the planning and decision making of health services in our community.

Health Minister Andrew Little announced that all DHBs will be scrapped within three years and be replaced by a national organisation, as well as creating a new Maori Health Authority and a new public health agency.

The Government is choosing to take a broad-brush approach that lumps regions together, despite their many differences.

We all know there is room for improvement in the current health system across New Zealand so that it can better cope with the demands of a growing and ageing population, but creating a new mega-authority is not the way to go about it.

Centralisation does not guarantee better access to health services for the people of Waitaki and does not guarantee a more sustainable health system.

I fear that this proposal will only bring more bureaucracy and diminish the voice of local people when it comes to the delivery of health services in this area.

National’s position is clear, in government we will retain the community and local voice through a DHB framework, and we will repeal a separate Maori Health Authority and work towards a better single, integrated health system.

I’m sure there are some very happy people throughout the electorate as our borders have opened to our Australian neighbours.

After more than 12 months, families and friends have been united in New Zealand, and I know many happy tears would have been shed. I’m looking forward to seeing international visitors return to the Waitaki which will help rebuild our country’s economy.

Last week, I hosted National’s building and construction spokesman Tim van de Molen in Oamaru. Tim and I heard from many in the building industry about the issues they face with obtaining consents and other red tape problems.

National leader Judith Collins drafted a Member’s Bill that went in to the ballot recently, which would get more houses built.

The draft legislation would effectively put in place emergency powers similar to those used to ramp up house building in Canterbury following the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes.

The law change would also incentivise councils by providing a grant of $50,000 for every new dwelling consented over and above a historical average.

This would do wonders to assist in getting more houses built here in Oamaru.

  • Jacqui Dean is the MP for Waitaki