This is appalling:
Health Ministry sought to recoup costs of $18m bungle from DHB budgets
Treasury was forced to object to the Health Ministry recouping the cost of an $18 million blunder, over an office refurbishment, from District Health Boards (DHBs).
So “serious financial mismanagement” leaves the Health Ministry $18 million short for spending on their own offices, and they tried to claw the money from the front line DHBs delivering health care to New Zealand? The same DHBs that already don’t have enough funding to do their jobs properly (witness Southland DHB)? The same health system that is already pushing thousands off official waiting lists for care? Take the money from them? That’s outrageous.
However, the ministry placed a bid at the last budget for $18 million, and Treasury uncovered the ministry did not hold anywhere near the required amount in its cash reserves. It was already contractually committed to the project, however.
How incompetent do you have to be to commit to spending $18m that you don’t have?
The $18m has now been factored into the ministry’s lease agreement, but documents reveal it first sought to divert depreciation funding – earmarked for spending on the ministry’s IT systems – to plug the gap. Treasury objected, saying that represented 90 per cent of the funding set aside for future IT upgrades. It also informed the ministry that taking the money out of DHB expenditure was not an option.
Well done Treasury, on this occasion, for calling a halt to that bullshit.
Little said it was a “fiasco”. “You know who’s going to suffer most? Not just the people in Dunedin, but it will be the elderly. Because we know when it comes to health decisions and health rationing, it’s always the elderly who suffer.”
Labour’s health spokeswoman Annette King has called the debacle a “cover up”, saying she would refer the blunder to the Auditor-General, and called on the Director General of Health, Chai Chuah, to offer his resignation.
That would seem to be in order.
Coleman has expressed “total confidence” in Chuah.
Then Coleman should resign with him. But he won’t, there is no accountability in National’s government – anything goes.