13 Jul 2010

Attempt by Treasury to cut extra funding for health

1:02 pm on 13 July 2010

Official papers show the Treasury tried to slash new funding for health by 60% ahead of this year's Budget.

The papers also reveal major arguments between Treasury and health officials.

Radio New Zealand's health correspondent says the health sector has been used to getting new funding increases of $750 million per year.

But in the 2010 Budget in May, that figure was reduced to an ongoing rise of $420 million, with one-off items taking the total operating increase for the coming year to $512 million.

The papers show the Treasury had set out to cut the increase to about $300 million.

Throughout the papers it complains about a lack of detail from Health Ministry officials about savings options, notably in the disability support area.

The Treasury also argued for no capital increase for health, but lost. It also failed in an argument that some primary healthcare savings should not be reinvested in other health programmes.

Health Minister Tony Ryall says the Budget allocation is a significant achievement.

Mr Ryall says the outcome was appropriate for the times and reflected the willingness of Prime Minister John Key and Finance Minister Bill English to protect public health.