(ACT Party media release)

“The collapse in New Zealand’s health system has been a long time coming and is part of a gradual decline in New Zealand’s prosperity,” says ACT’s Deputy Leader and Health spokesperson Brooke van Velden.

“The closing of the border was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Data collected by ACT shows that in recent years New Zealand has been training 40 per cent fewer medical professionals per capita than Australia.

“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 vultures are circling as New Zealand loses its first world status. The Government of Victoria is aggressively advertising for nurses to cross the ditch, and with the higher pay available nurses will continue to leave.

“People like to think of New Zealand as a first world country but our income figures tell a different story. Until we have a government focussed on economic growth we will continue to see tragedies in our health system.

“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.

“It’s time to get real on the health crisis. Make it easier for medical professionals to come to New Zealand, and focus on growing the economy so we can afford to pay for a first world health system. If we don’t New Zealand will keep slipping behind the rest of the world.”

This is a huge problem around the country including in Waikanae. Just yesterday a reader wrote to us saying: “[There is a] lack of doctors here in Waikanae. My doctor only works one day a week at Mahara Health, very seldom I need one, but did last week. I posted my view on Facebook to learn there are so many people what can’t get into a medical centre as their books are full. A new centre, Matauranga in Tongariro Street, Paraparaumu won’t take patients outside of their zone. This I heard from my neighbour who has just moved here. I have no idea how to entice extra doctors up here but something needs to be done.”

Like most professionals, Doctors will come to Waikanae for lifestyle reasons above anything else.  But there is a big nationwide shortage of them as the ACT statement says.  This isn’t helped by many of them heading to Australia for better pay and conditions.  On TV1’s Sunday program a small contingent of people trying to entice Texas doctors to Jacindaland were shown talking to groups in Dallas, but the reporter conceded that they get better pay where they are.  It’s also hard to imagine, as the program suggested, that their need to send patients wanting abortions to other states where they are legal is a sufficient reason for them to come to Jacindaland.