• Wyatt Creech

"It's top heavy, and involves pointless upheaval. Most of it will go down as the last bastion of backwardness," Health Minister Wyatt Creech said today.

"Anything worthwhile in it is either already happening, or an adoption of successful National policy.

"Labour's Health Policy has been leaked to me, showing a serious fumble in Labour's election campaign."

Labour plans:

· 'bureaucracy overload' creating 77 new bureaucracies, committees and boards - including failed Health Boards.

· to scrap Booking Systems and re-instate the failed waiting lists.

· put ideology ahead of reality - Labour says it will scrap the profit motive in hospitals, and "only contract for the provision of primary or community care with organisations which are not for profit and where management involves an acceptable level of community or consumer representation."

Labour plans 22 District Area Health Boards, 22 Primary Health Advisory Committees, 22 Hospital Management Committees, Six Ministry of Health Directorates, Health and Education Workforce Advisory Committee, Funding Taskforce, Minister of Rural Health, Committee of Ministers on Mental Health and Committee of officials on Mental Health.

"Labour's been told by senior health officials on many occasions that they won't save any money by restructuring. Labour's dreaming - it will cost taxpayers -and for not one extra health service," Mr Creech said.

"Most people involved in health will be very concerned that Labour wants to return to the outdated waiting lists that didn't work. There's wide acceptance from those in the health sector that Booking Systems are much fairer and clearer in ensuring people who need care get it first and quickly.

"The profit motive for hospitals was scrapped two years ago. While Labour claims it will get rid of public funding of private providers it won't because it would be cutting out hundreds of GPs, pharmacies, and many community Maori providers."

Mr Creech said the rest of Labour's policy is nothing new - most is already happening.

- Medium Term Health Strategy - Population Health focus
- Health Goals (in Medium Term - No profit motive in hospitals
Strategy, and in National Health - Family Start expansion
Outcome Targets) - Free doctors visits for under 6's
- Integration of Primary/Secondary care - Primary and Community care focus
- Mental Health funding and workforce development
- Initiatives on drug abuse, Dental Health, Sexual Health, Pacific Health, Rural Health and Child Health.

"It is very disappointing that after nine years in opposition Labour hasn't got any new ideas of its own. All it boils down to is Labour wanting to turn the structure of the health sector on its head for no good health reason."