“Why are taxpayers paying more and more for bureaucrats when we still can’t get enough health workers on the job? ACT hears ya,” says ACT’s Deputy Leader and Health spokesperson Brooke van Velden.

“The number of contractors and consultants at the Ministry of Health has increased from 160 in 2017/18 to 635 in the last financial year. The cost to taxpayers has increased from $24 million to $150 million.

"When I asked Director General of Health Dr Diana Sarfati and Health Minister Andrew Little they couldn't say when or by how much contractors would decrease.

“Now that we’re no longer in the midst of a pandemic, Health Minister Andrew Little needs to let taxpayers know this won’t continue.

“The Covid pandemic was an exceptional time for the Ministry of Health. It should be treated like that. This can’t be the new standard.

“The Minister needs to ensure his departments set a budget, stick to it, and show taxpayers some respect. The Minister needs to commit that spending on consultants will decrease this year from last year, and show a clear path back to 2017 levels?

“ACT says we need to zero base government. By that we mean going back to zero and ask ourselves, if the departments and bureaucracies we have now didn’t exist, would we establish them today.

“How many zombie departments and zombie bureaucrats does this country have? People who just carry on collecting a pay cheque for their own purposes instead of any public purpose. Why do we put up with the idea that Government can get bigger, but it can never get smaller?

“The Minister needs to ensure his departments set a budget, stuck to it and show taxpayers some respect.”

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Brooke van Velden