“Labour’s health reforms which came into effect this year has further divided New Zealand and made our health system divided by race,” says ACT’s Health spokesperson Brooke van Velden.

“There’s no doubt our health system needed change, but there’s no evidence that this reform is going to have any positive impact.

“It seems to be more about ideological and administrative reform rather than health reform. It doesn't prioritise workforce training, development, or retention. Administrative reform on its own won't provide another GP down the road, train another mental health nurse, or deliver a midwife to rural New Zealand.

“In short, these reforms do nothing to address the deficiencies in our health system that are clearer than ever right now. Our government has forgotten about the outcomes that actually matter.

“The creation of the Māori Health Authority is an exercise in co-government that increases bureaucracy and separates New Zealanders based on who their grandparents were.

“ACT tried to improve the reforms. We put forward and advocated strongly for changes including a Rural Health Strategy to increase access for rural New Zealand, a Medicines Strategy to focus on ensuring medicine access for Kiwis, and to drop the Māori Health Authority that divides based on race.

“We were glad to see the Government see sense and adopt our Rural Health Strategy proposal, but unfortunately everything else was ignored.

“ACT stands for a better New Zealand that is inclusive of all New Zealanders and that actually puts patients at the heart of the healthcare system. We hear ya!”

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Brooke van Velden