Pharmac underfunded and education cuts

Written By: - Date published: 7:18 am, May 6th, 2016 - 30 comments
Categories: accountability, class war, education, health - Tags: , , , ,

A pre-budget announcement of a bump in Pharmac funding is good news of course, especially for those in desperate need of medication that can now be supported. But, as Labour points out (based on Treasury figures), the funding increase doesn’t even come close to catching up the cuts of the last few years. Pharmac is short $53M from 2011 / 2012 levels.

And then we have the education cuts. Government funding for state schools decreased by nearly $150 per student last year (based on Ministry of Education figures), or by over $190 when adjusted for inflation and other costs. Whittling away at state education while pouring money into charter schools.

Civil society, it’s a steady attrition, the death of a thousand cuts. But what the hell, Auckland property owners are raking it in, so it’s all good, right?

pharmac cuts

30 comments on “Pharmac underfunded and education cuts”

  1. Rosemary McDonald 1

    And while Uncle Jonathon was being coy about the upcoming Budget ” only 21 more sleeps..” while at the same time chucking lollies around for those begging for funding for new generation cancer drugs there was a not so subtle warning that there is some serious shit happening with the funding from the Miserly of Health for Disability Supports.

    “She should stop promising everything to everyone…”

    (sub text here…’cripples can just take a fucking number…as usual’.)

    Miserable sod.

  2. Keith 2

    Add cut and frozen budgets for the police, justice department, RNZ and probably any other public service you can think of. Also factor in massaged stats to mask the reality of those cuts.

    There’s a price to pay for tax cuts for those better off, loss of revenue from those assets sold off and ultimately for voting National.

    • Rosemary McDonald 2.1

      “cut and frozen budgets for the police, justice department, RNZ ”

      add to that, unsurprisingly, the Human Rights Commission and the Office of Human Rights Proceedings.

    • Draco T Bastard 2.2

      There’s a price to pay for tax cuts for those better off, loss of revenue from those assets sold off and ultimately for voting National.

      Yep and that price is the destruction of our society.

      Tories and rich people: Destroying civilisation since forever.

    • Macro 2.3

      But but but ….the Prime Ministers Department has increased its staffing levels year on year! So what are you worried about??

  3. save NZ 3

    Don’t blame Auckland property owners, the policy comes from Wellington.

    One of the reasons we need more money for medicine and schools is the artificial and deliberate increase in population.

    Seriously, the silence from the opposition about record government migration figures and a real debate about the pros and cos of this open immigration policy under National (a tactic that is keeping them in power with more votes and an appearance that they are keeping the economy going) is deafening.

    • TC 3.1

      Yes the opposition seem incapable of basic maths at a macro level.

      If they just went through the past cuts and these lolly scrambles in real terms cross referenced to population numbers it would stand out like dogs bollocks.

      Marty g was superb at this.

      • seeker 3.1.1

        Both King and Hipkins made blistering attacks on coleman and parata yesterday apparently using basic maths.
        What one needs is a bus to drive through this self described ‘roBUSt government so the actual reality of the situation can be seen.

        • TC 3.1.1.1

          Swinging and non voters dont care about what goes on in the chamber.

          It needs to be in the msm and parroted by every labour MP at every chance.

          Its called building a narrative and something the opposition suck at.

      • greywarshark 3.1.2

        Marty G. Now that was a welcome name to see on the list. But long time no see.

    • Lanthanide 3.2

      “Seriously, the silence from the opposition about record government migration figures and a real debate about the pros and cos of this open immigration policy under National (a tactic that is keeping them in power with more votes and an appearance that they are keeping the economy going) is deafening.”

      If current migration policy is keeping the current government in power, why would the opposition want to overturn it? The opposition want to get into government, and themselves benefit from the immigration policy.

      Or to put it in really blunt terms: if the government was giving everyone $1,000 a week free money and that was keeping them elected, how does it make sense for the opposition to campaign against that law and repeal it once they’re in office – it will only make them unpopular, and set them up for being defeated at the next election, where the new government would just re-instate the previous policy.

  4. ianmac 4

    The strategy is cut the funding before so that surprise surprise, funding shall be grandly increased just in time for the next election. The people will be so grateful for such a kind generous government. We of course will not notice the deprivation in the before.

  5. greywarshark 5

    I’m interested in the hospitals. People here have commented that Tony Ryall managed to keep things ticking over without many shocks and I think he has now stepped down, resigned whatever and got a nice job in the top management of a health related company.

    Here is an 88 page report covering 2014-2017 on integration of five South Island DHBs for ‘better alignment’. Lots of management talk and jargon. This is the sort of managementspeak you wade through.

    This South Island Health Services Plan (SIHSP) progresses the activities of the South Island Alliance and draws from national strategies and key priorities, including the National Health Targets, the Minister’s Expectations, and the Operational Policy Framework. The SIHSP actions are interwoven into each of the South Island DHB Annual Plans with a clear ‘Line of Sight’ across plans.
    The plans provide direction and guidance in terms of how the South Island Health System will operate and prioritise its resources and effort.
    This Plan has been developed taking all of these plans into account, as well as the Minister’s Letter of Expectation which is appended to this plan (Appendix 1).

    The most effort goes into preparing reports I think. Similar to that shown in Red Dwarf looking at Rimmer’s study habits. He could revise solidly for three months but still not pass the exam, even on his 13th try.
    (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j5mqbKs1PoI

    One fact that Ryall states in his letter as Minister that major trauma..is a leading cause of disability and death for under 45s and improving services is an important Government initiative. (Preventative action for workers, and less cars travelling on the road and into rail or bus would help with much of that.)

    A report comparing five DHBs in different areas of the country gives some insight into Southern’s problems, (that’s south of Christchurch, Otago and further.)
    Whereas Counties Manukau had population of 501,000 in an area 552 km/2 with budget of $1300m and was classed Urban, Southern had population of 305,000, area of 62,000 km/s, budget of $844m and classed Mixed Urban/Rural (both for 2012/13).
    It seems at a glance, that the urban DHBs are better off, and Southern appears to be weighted more to Urban costings, without consideration for the huge size of its watershed, up to x62 times that of Upper Hutt at 916 km/2 the largest urban area in the study.
    http://www.wpro.who.int/asia_pacific_observatory/country_comparative_studies/ccs_public_hospital_3_nez.pdf

    Towards the end of this report this statement is I think an indication of what government’s concern about hospitals is. The 2013 report, for example, noted that eight DHBs performed poorly but collectively the DHBs’ financial performances improved against financial targets and they continued to reduce their deficits.

    And the author of the report makes this telling comment that gives insight into why we cannot access much detailed factual, and understandable information about our hospital system.
    Many of the data are placed in comparative international contexts, such as New Zealand being in the “best third” of OECD countries on an indicator (see Table 2, for example).
    However, the 260-page report means that gaining an overall picture of performance is an involved and challenging process.

    As I remarked before, more time and money spent on managing and preparing reports on activity, and not enough spent on planning how to manage down the costs of extending old age care to people past their use-by date and not just helping and smoothing the problems of old age and near death (I am in my 70s so can speak honestly about such matters.) And the problems of poor nutrition, disease from high density occupation, depression etc. Unfortunately the kings are in their counting houses counting out the money, and don’t care to find out what people need and help them to get it it where possible.

    • TC 5.1

      Ryall has a cushy gig at a large law practice now.

      He knew how to keep the lid on his slash n burn with compliant DHB boards and top managers who rule via fear and intimidation.

      I have had a few chats with top specialists agahst at the bullying and tactics.

    • Rosemary McDonald 5.2

      @Greywarshark

      http://www.treasury.govt.nz/government/longterm/externalpanel/pdfs/ltfep-s4-02.pdf

      When anything comes up about health, disability and aged care…I dig this out of my hard drive.

      I will warn you though…it appears to me that the Miserly of Health will increase it’s per capita funding for aged care…at the expense of younger people living with disability. Not fair…but hopefully we will all not allow them to practice their wedge politics and divide and hence conquer.

      What worried me a wee bit at a public consultation meeting about the disability strategy the other day was that there is a person on the reference group representing the interests of the elderly.

      Not elderly disabled….the elderly in general. There were a couple of polite murmurs about this (and oh! is the disability community polite…).

      Disability under the Misery of Health is really, really shit for those with high care needs…pity they are not a significant voting bloc like the older demographic.

  6. adam 6

    This national government are dishonest.

    This national government lies.

    This national government attack the weakest.

    And what do people do?

    Well we don’t act like the Iraqi people that for sure, and maybe we should.

    http://thedailyblog.co.nz/2016/05/05/the-peoples-wrath-iraqi-protesters-demonstrate-a-new-way-of-petitioning-parliament/

    • Chuck 6.1

      Violence will not help you in your crusade against National.

      Its a slippery slope once you embark down that path adam…

      As for Pharmac, NZ could spend 100% of its GDP every year on funding Pharmac, and still not cover all the different drugs that could save lives.

      • adam 6.1.1

        Who said anything about violence, apart from you Chuck?

        • Chuck 6.1.1.1

          Hmm you need to re read your post adam…and to help, here is the headline you linked to…

          “ON SATURDAY, 30 April 2016, thousands of supporters of the Iraqi religious leader, Moqtadr al-Sadr, stormed Baghdad’s “Green Zone” and forced their way into the Iraqi Parliament.”

          And your last comment was – “Well we don’t act like the Iraqi people that for sure, and maybe we should.”

          The “maybe we should” hangs you out to dry.

          • adam 6.1.1.1.1

            OK, have read anything else around this? Obviously not. It was a non-violent protest, no one was hurt. They took over the parliament.

            Yes the language is strong, So what. Strong language is just that, strong language.

            It was an action by people to remind parliament that we pay the taxes, and we do the voting.

            If it had been violent it would have been splashed across every paper and TV in the world. It hardly made a blip, because it was non-violent.

            I’m all for non-violent protest, I think in this day and age it is the only option left.

  7. greywarshark 7

    By the way r0b you have a very clever symbolic image there.

  8. srylands 8

    Only you people would measure performance by how much something costs. Back in the real world, delivering results at reduced costs is a good thing.

    Between 1999 and 2007, the costs of delivering secondary education rose inexorably. And student achievement tanked. Well done.

    See page 14 of the attached briefing for an example.

    http://www.education.govt.nz/assets/Documents/Ministry/Publications/Briefings-to-Incoming-Ministers/AspirationAndAchievementEducationSystem.pdf

    Nowhere in this briefing does it say we need more money.

    Oh and I love the “stop the cuts” moniker. By the same people who demand that the Government reduce debt faster.

    • AB 8.1

      ” Back in the real world, delivering results at reduced costs is a good thing.”
      The whole purpose of Pharmac is to do just that – by using its bargaining power with the pharma industry. But that bargaining power is finite – if they don’t have enough money they will not be able to fund some beneficial drugs.

      If you are suggesting that Pharmac should be able to make up any shortfall by somehow being more efficient you are deluded. They are not like a large manufacturing enterprise with a myriad of processes that can be analysed, measured, automated, etc. to gain efficiency.
      And even if they were like a manufacturer, finding genuine efficiencies that don’t impact product or service quality is devilishly hard and usually requires creativity, analysis, and investment. I have seen business managers demand efficiency many times. Usually the real agenda is just to take cost out to meet short-term financial targets. And usually the product or service quality declines.

    • Lanthanide 8.2

      Except National are deliberately increasing Pharmac’s budget by $50m, so that they can buy the new melanoma drug.

      Just imagine if they had been funded properly for the last 5 years – they may already have spent that money on the drug months or years ago, and people who died from melanoma might not have.

      Since the job of Pharmac is to improve people’s health and keep them alive, we very much can say that measuring performance based on costs is a sensible thing to do, in some cases.

      • geoff lye 8.2.1

        That’s not counting new biologic drugs diabetics need that they are paying top dollar for because pharmac haven’t got the money to subsidize them.

  9. Bob 9

    Who makes these numbers up?
    Lets go back to when National took office:
    Pharmac funding 2007/2008: $653M
    Pharmac funding 2016/2017: $850M
    That means Pharmac’s budgets have increased by an average of 3.4% annually, the annual rate of inflation in that time has been 1.5%, so in ‘real terms’ as Labour keep quoting, Pharmac’s budgets are up $122.42M or 14.4%!
    http://www.rbnz.govt.nz/monetary-policy/inflation-calculator

    Even if we start at Labour’s own arbitrary date of 2011/12, funding that year was $777.4M
    In ‘real terms’ the budget this year should only be $806.3M!!!

    Of course, its okay, cos Labour has linked to where they got their figures from…oh, wait

    That’s okay though, I’m sure Anthony isn’t just churning Labour releases without actually thinking about it first…

    • joe90 9.1

      Well, they had to make good on election promises.

      • Bob 9.1.1

        Joe, that links shows 40M extra funding, even if you add that to the $50M extra this year and remove those from the equation, Pharmac’s funding would still be up $32.42M in real terms.

        With Labour Press releases like this, in addition to the mindless repeating by people like Anthony it is no wonder Labour’s reputation is shot!

        I want Labour to be attacking the Government and holding them to account, but don’t just release some figures cos they spent a bit of time pulling them together, use that energy to work together and get traction on real issues, like the mental health funding in Christchurch!

    • Lanthanide 9.2

      It says “Treasury figures”. Hard to say if that’s what the projected figure was or not, though, or just the actual.

  10. Bob 10

    Okay, I just looked at the education figures, ffs! Give us some context!

    Let’s say it costs $500k to set up a restaurant and run it for a year.
    How much does it cost per person to set up a restaurant for 10 people? $50,000
    How much does it cost to set up that same restaurant for 100 people? $5,000

    That’s a 90% funding reduction, you bastards!!!

    Just a thought, aren’t there less schools now? (after Christchurch school merges)
    If there are less schools, would overheads go up or down?

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