“The critical health worker shortage New Zealand faces has little chance of being fixed anytime soon if Health Minister Andrew Little’s performance in Parliament today is any indication,” says ACT’s Deputy Leader and Health spokesperson Brooke van Velden.

“The Minister seems to have accepted that New Zealand’s health system is slipping away from first world status. When asked how he plans for New Zealand to close the gap of nurses per capita with Australia of 37 per cent, he said even attempting to do so is “impossible and unrealistic.”

“When asked why paramedics are not included on the immigration Green List when there’s a nationwide shortage, he simply threw up his hands and said he didn’t know.

“New Zealand’s healthcare system is training less, paying less and harder to access than first world comparators. Is it any wonder our health system is in crisis?

“The news is awash with stories of New Zealanders being turned away from healthcare. This collapse in standards is part of a gradual decline in New Zealand’s prosperity. In recent years New Zealand has been training 40 per cent fewer medical professionals per capita than Australia.

“The Minister seems to be uninterested in fixing this. The vultures are circling as New Zealand loses its first world status. The Government of Victoria is aggressively advertising for nurses to cross the ditch.

“As an immediate fix for staffing shortages ACT would provide all occupations on the ‘Green List’ a fast-track to residency by removing the ‘work to residence’ divide and simplify the Accredited Employer Work Visa scheme by abolishing labour market tests, wage rules, and make it easier for migrants to move between accredited employers.

“The collapse of our health system is part of a gradual decline in New Zealand’s prosperity. People like to think of New Zealand as a first world country but our income figures tell a different story.

“ACT stands for real change and making New Zealand the preferred destination for talent and investment. Then our health system will flourish.”

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Brooke van Velden