18 May 2014

Health money generous, says English

10:08 am on 18 May 2014

Finance Minister Bill English is denying the extra money for health in the Budget is in effect a funding cut, and says there is potential to spend more in future years.

Bill English.

Bill English. Photo: RNZ / Diego Opatowski

There are concerns the extra money, much of it for free doctors' visits for children under 13, does not match inflation.

The Association of Salaried Medical Specialists says the health system still faces a funding shortfall of $224 million dollars for the coming year.

However, Mr English told TVNZ's Q+A programme on Sunday that, relative to other sectors, health had been generously funded and spending had lifted because the Government had sustainable surpluses.

"There's always the potential to lift it a bit further in future years. But like everyone else in our country they have done a good job of achieving more for a bit less increase," he said.

Mr English said any extra funding would need to be balanced against other social spending needs.