web analytics

Ryall reveals his hollowness on Agenda

Written By: - Date published: 3:54 pm, October 1st, 2007 - 13 comments
Categories: health, national - Tags: ,

all_your_base has already posted on Tony Ryall’s weasel words on yesterday’s Agenda programme, but what struck me about the interview was Ryall’s utter hollowness on policy.

Here he is farming out elective surgery to the private sector:

GUYON: Okay let’s talk about elective surgery because the Ministry of Health says at the moment the private sector does about 2% of elective surgery, what would you like to see that rise to?

TONY: Well I don’t think we’ve got a specific number in mind but we very much see the private sector as being supplemental to the work that’s going on in the public sector.

GUYON: But have you got an idea of roughly how much you’d like to see that private sector being involved?

TONY: Well I think there’s a much greater use that could be made than what’s being made at the moment, it’s because we want more service for patients…

Simply astounding. Remember, Ryall isn’t just some guy being asked about his ideas on healthcare – he’s National’s health spokesman and would be Minister of Health under a National government. His ideological obsession with privatisation comes through loud and clear, but he doesn’t seem to know what this would actually entail. He can’t give Guyon a specific number because he has no idea whether the private sector can actually supply a meaningful additional number of elective surgeries. All he has is an ideological opposition to the public health system.

Of course, if the private sector is only providing 2% of elective surgery, then it’s silly to assume (as Ryall does) that private hospitals are employing a load of spare capacity just waiting for public sector contracts.

This is just one example from an interview full of vague proclamations about National’s ability to create a more efficient (read ‘cheaper’ not ‘better’) heath system through privatisation and cutting non-medical staff, but at no point does he back any of this up with specifics, numbers or a real plan (what does “re-engaging health professionals” mean in practice?). Hollow ideas from a hollow man.

Because the fact is Ryall doesn’t really believe a word he’s telling us. He isn’t after a more effective public health system assisted from time to time by the private sector; he wants to gut the public system and make healthcare into just another private commodity. And if you can’t afford to pay? Well, you can go down the road then, can’t you?

13 comments on “Ryall reveals his hollowness on Agenda ”

  1. Daveo 1

    Hollow indeed. It’s been clear for a while that Tony Ryall is talking out his arse, but I wonder how many of National’s anonymous donors have interests in the private healthcare sector?

  2. Hey Tane – your post suggests that National are the enemy of public health and Labour the saviours – which is obviously not the case. You also correctly point out Ryall’s hollowness, but what about pointing out the dire and vagueness that we’ve seen from Pete Hodgson?! God that guy is bad.

    Under Labour the health system is still running along a private-oriented model – I guess because Labour are still neo-liberals when it comes to health. In terms of waiting lists this government has been incredibly bad, and the winners of Labour’s policies has been the private health sector. We could have a discussion about this. For instance, the Herald recently said that the ‘Public hospital waiting lists are a boon to the private sector’ who have been able to ‘cherry pick’ the more straightforward cases, leaving ‘public hospitals to do the difficult, expensive work’. This has led to a situation under Labour whereby more elective surgery is actually carried out in the private sector than in the public: ‘Southern Cross funded 126,000 operations in the past financial year, compared with 105,000 elective operations in public hospitals’. According to Southern Cross, a growing proportion of patients are paying for private surgery – paying the full price, ‘typically surgery costing less than $5000, such as hernia repair or cataract treatment’. Similarly, under Labour, ‘ACC buys up to 80 per cent of its elective surgery from private hospitals and the Counties Manukau health board buys around 11 per cent’.

    Read more about how crap health is under Labour and National, here:
    http://liberation.typepad.com/liberation/health/index.html

    Cheers

    Bryce
    http://www.liberation.org.nz

  3. Sam Dixon 3

    Bryce – the post doesn’t say Labour is better, just that National will be worse. And this my friend is the real world: we have a choice between a centre-left and a centre-right government, its a stark choice and you’ve got to decide which side you’re on.

    Labour is far from perfect but they’re at least heading in the right direction. If its not enough for you, fair enough, support the Greens (the only party to the left of Labour with a hope of mking it into Parliament) – you’re still supporting a centre-left government but helping shift the balance of that government leftwards.

  4. Labour is not actually heading in the “right direction” (unless of course you mean “the right-wing direction”). On health (and other policies) Labour has retained all of National’s previous neoliberal stances. Labour’s so-called Third Way has been all about embedding these rightwing changes. So it’s a bit silly to suggest that there’s any great choice between the tweddledum and tweddledee parties of Labour and National, who are basically just two centre-right parties.

    In the above post, Tane is just playing the part of an apologist for the Labour-National status quo.

    Bryce
    http://www.liberation.org.nz

  5. all_your_base 5

    Bryce. Straight-up. Do you *honestly* think that things would be the same under the Nats? If you had nieces or nephews that were voting for the first time and for whatever reason trying to decide only between National and Labour would you really tell them “it doesn’t matter which of those two parties you vote for, they’re both the same”?

  6. Sam Dixon 6

    bryce – tane doesn’t extol any position in that post, he only criticises National’s vague, neoliberal one. Incredible, its like your anger about Labour’s reformism prevents you from even reading what’s in front of you.

    Mate, its simply not sufficent to spit the dummy and say ‘all the parties are the same’, they’re not, some are better than others and backing those that approach what you beleive in is the only way to get there. Rejecting them all is not just ineffective, its worse than that – lefties rejecting the system is the best way to ensure the right dominates and makes things worse…. but go on, reject if you will, John Key wants you to.

  7. For the amusement of your readers – one of our gnomes snapped the following picture in National Party HQ. It shows Key with a new privately owned public school (get your head around that?).

    Enjoy:
    http://kiwiblogblog.wordpress.com/2007/10/01/key-struggles-on-education-privatisation-issue/

  8. ak 8

    “So it’s a bit silly to suggest that there’s any great choice between the tweddledum and tweddledee parties of Labour and National,”
    Get a life Bryce. Talk to someone who actually lived and worked through a few of the previous decades. Talk to some of the workers who slogged in factories all day then ran raffles, deivered pamphlets, and worked their fingers to the bone to get the Alliance where it was only to see all their efforts sacrificed on your altar of ideological purity just as their fingers were on the levers of real possiblilty. Do a stint at your local foodbank and find out the hourly rate of the people who clean your ivory tower. Take a good hard look at what emotive divisiveness does for any organisation.

    By all means theorise – but half-baked sniping is just lazy and annoying. And sharpen up a bit if you want to cut it even in the ethereal world – eg from your post; “more elective surgery is actually carried out in the private sector than in the public” when just above Guyon has said “the private sector does about 2% of elective surgery,” – and wasn’t contradicted by Ryall.
    And if our system is so crappy, explain how this highly-respected survey could have rated our health service first above the UK, Australia, Canada, Germany and the USA in 2004: http://www.commonwealthfund.org/usr_doc/1027_Davis_mirror_mirror_international_update_final.pdf?section=4039
    If you really want to help people, get to know them first and then buckle down and push in the same direction. Don’t waste your talent and privileged position in pointless undermining of your own cause.

  9. Tane 9

    Bryce,

    As others have pointed out already, my post was not about Labour’s record – it was about the hollowness of National’s health policy. Like you, I’d like to see a lot more funding go into health, to the point where it’s free for all New Zealanders regardless of their wealth. And I’m sure Labour would too.

    But you see, there’s this little thing called political reality, and it’s noticeably absent from most of your comments. Because increasing health spending to the levels you’d like would mean either substantially increasing government revenue (read: higher taxes) or major spending cuts in other areas. Neither are particularly likely in the current political environment. These are the constraints a centre-left government faces, which means you’re limited to using what you have to best effect – hence the govt’s focus on primary healthcare. Is it perfect? No. But ask people who will no longer be able to afford to take their kids to the doctor if National gets into power and you might gain some perspective.

    So here’s an idea – instead of just mouthing off about how things aren’t exactly as you’d like at the moment, why not put up some constructive ideas on how we could get there?

  10. The Standard responses to my comments strongly shows that you guys just cannot handle the Labour Government being exposed to any critical analysis from the left.

    The health system under Labour is very much into using the private health sector. Labour’s health policy is to have primary health pretty much totally run by the private sector. Even in the area of dental care, you guys seem to want a private model.

    You guys are so much into “the real world” that pragmatism ends up determining all your politics. All the arguments that you use of the same ones that the rightwing faction of the Labour Party used throughout the 1980s in order to introduce Rogernomics. Douglas, Lange, Palmer, Moore, Clark et al constantly made the argument over and over again that “we have to face reality”; “don’t over theorize just use common sense”; etc. And you Standard guys just buy into the same bullshit. So going on your lack of principles I can see why Labour is so easily pushed to the right.

    Sam says that “Labour is far from perfect but they’re at least heading in the right direction”. But why don’t you ever indicate what Labour should improve upon. Or are you just a cheerleader?! And there’s no evidence that Labour are heading in the right direction at all. They entrenched all of the neoliberal policies from the 1980s and 1990s! They’re even reducing corporate taxes for the rich! The National Party didn’t even do that in their nine years in government! In fact the divide between the rich and the poor has become even greater than it was when National was in power. And Labour is totally committed to reducing expenditure to the extent that government spending as a proportion of GDP is less than what Ruth Richardson could achieve! These aren’t just theories – they are things that have hit the poor hard.

    All_your_base: where is this quote from that you attribute to me: “it doesn’t matter which of those two parties you vote for, they’re both the same”?

    I agree that in many ways National are worse than Labour. And in other ways Labour have been worse than National. For a start, Labour have gone to war, invading many more countries than National ever did. In fact Labour are spending significantly more on the military than National ever did. Labour are actually much more gung-ho than the last National Government.

    Tane is acting as an apologist of the neoliberalism of Labour and National. If he regards himself as leftwinger then he should be challenging them both. And, Tane, it’s just rubbish to suggest that Labour has any sort of policy of making health free for all New Zealanders. Labour is actually quite opposed to this idea.

    Ak – your suggestions to “Get a life Bryce” show how limited your arguments are! And if you’re going to differ to me on the proportion of private and public elective surgery, at least provide some evidence instead of more unthinking Labour rhetoric.

    And note the poor state of the health system under Labour – according to the Commonwealth Fund. In terms of OECD countries it ranked NZ under Labour near the bottom for several key indicators of health. For instance:

    Public Heath funding (per person):
    NZ = $1600; OECD= $1900

    Pharmaceutical spending (per person):
    NZ= $174 OECD= $377

    Hospital beds (per 1000 people):
    NZ=3.2 OECD= 3.6

    Physician numbers (per 1000):
    NZ= 2.2 OECD= 3.2

    Years of lost life due to diabetes (per 1000 people):
    NZ=72 OECD= 39

    Bryce
    http://www.liberation.org.nz

  11. Sam Dixon 11

    Byrce- I know I for one welcome constructive criticism of Labour from the left, indeed I make it regularly (but not in a post that’s about National’s health policy, you must have noticed by now that this blog is not Labour apologist – its anti-National with some good old fashioned left-wingism (strikes, environmentalism) on the side).

    The problem I have is, Bryce, you haven’t provided any critical analysis. You’ve just labelled anyone who isn’t a rejectionist a pawn of the neoliberals.

    .

  12. Sam’s idea of “constructive criticism of Labour from the left” is to fawn over all over the Government and tell them to do better in exposing National!

    My critical analysis in the above thread was to show that Labour really aren’t offering any alternative to National – and I produced a number of details and facts to back this up.

    And, yes, if people like Sam Dixon refuse to reject neoliberalism than I don’t see why they shouldn’t be labelled “a pawn of the neoliberals”.

    I’m looking forward to reading The Standard’s critical post about Labour’s health policy. I guess I’ll be waiting a while…

    Bryce
    http://www.liberation.org.nz

  13. Roger Blunt 13

    Well said, Bryce, although you may be a bit misguided. The health system is collapsing under its own weight, and really only functions as an emergency service. I have ulcerative colitis, a long-term uncurable problem. For a consultation, I must go to a private specialist as there are none in Wellington in the public sector who will allow a timely appointment. Further, the long-term prognosis is bowel cancer, and my GP tells me not to cancel my medical insurance because it would be next to impossible to get treatment at a public facility.
    Neither Labour nor National are competent health service thinkers. Pete Hodgson: I remember him as the guy who denied that we had an electricity supply problem, because “nobody had told him that the lake levels were critical”. And he is the guy in charge of health. He wouldn’t understand a management system if it hit him in the eye. What a guy to have in charge of our must critical social spending area! Tony Ryall: tries to speak for himself, and fails every time. What a nasty character. Remember also that Helen Clark is a past minister of health and did nothing. So what’s new in the Labour Party, apart from their ability to redistribute income? Certainly nothing in the health sector.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • NZ announces a third P-3 deployment in support of UN sanctions
    The Government has deployed a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 Orion (P-3) maritime patrol aircraft to support the implementation of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions imposing sanctions against North Korea, announced Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters and Minister of Defence Ron Mark. “New Zealand has long supported ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Pacific trade and development agreement a reality
    Pacific regional trade and development agreement PACER Plus will enter into force in 60 days now that the required eight countries have ratified it. Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker welcomed the announcement that the Cook Islands is the eighth nation to ratify this landmark agreement. “The agreement represents ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Securing a pipeline of teachers
    The Government is changing its approach to teacher recruitment as COVID-19 travel restrictions continue, by boosting a range of initiatives to get more Kiwis into teaching. “When we came into Government, we were faced with a teacher supply crisis,” Education Minister Chris Hipkins said. “Over the past three years, we ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Border exceptions for a small number of international students with visas
    The Government has established a new category that will allow 250 international PhD and postgraduate students to enter New Zealand and continue their studies, in the latest set of border exceptions. “The health, safety and wellbeing of people in New Zealand remains the Government’s top priority. Tight border restrictions remain ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • First COVID-19 vaccine purchase agreement signed
    The Government has signed an agreement to purchase 1.5 million COVID-19 vaccines – enough for 750,000 people – from Pfizer and BioNTech, subject to the vaccine successfully completing all clinical trials and passing regulatory approvals in New Zealand, say Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods and Health Minister Chris Hipkins. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • International statement – End-to-end encryption and public safety
    We, the undersigned, support strong encryption, which plays a crucial role in protecting personal data, privacy, intellectual property, trade secrets and cyber security.  It also serves a vital purpose in repressive states to protect journalists, human rights defenders and other vulnerable people, as stated in the 2017 resolution of the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Ministry of Defence Biodefence Assessment released
    The Ministry of Defence has today released a Defence Assessment examining Defence’s role across the spectrum of biological hazards and threats facing New Zealand. Biodefence: Preparing for a New Era of Biological Hazards and Threats looks at how the NZDF supports other agencies’ biodefence activities, and considers the context of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Approaches to Economic Challenges: Confronting Planetary Emergencies: OECD 9 October 2020
    New Approaches to Economic Challenges: Confronting Planetary Emergencies: OECD 9 October 2020 Hon David Parker’s response following Thomas Piketty and Esther Duflo. Good morning, good afternoon, and good evening, wherever in the world you might be. I first acknowledge the excellent thought provoking speeches of Thomas Piketty and Esther ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Kaipara Moana restoration takes next step
    A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed today at Waihāua Marae between the Crown, local iwi and councils to protect, restore and enhance the mauri of Kaipara Moana in Northland. Environment Minister David Parker signed the document on behalf of the Crown along with representatives from Ngā Maunga Whakahī, Ngāti ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New Zealand and Uruguay unite on reducing livestock production emissions
    Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor and Uruguayan Minister of Livestock, Agriculture and Fisheries Carlos María Uriarte have welcomed the launch of a three-year project that will underpin sustainable livestock production in Uruguay, Argentina, and Costa Rica.  The project called ‘Innovation for pasture management’ is led by Uruguay’s National Institute of Agricultural ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • 3100 jobs created through marae upgrades
    Hundreds of marae throughout the country will be upgraded through investments from the Provincial Growth Fund’s refocused post COVID-19 funding to create jobs and put money into the pockets of local tradespeople and businesses, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones and Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta have announced. “A total ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Health volunteers recognised in annual awards
    Health Minister Chris Hipkins has announced 9 teams and 14 individuals are the recipients of this year’s Minister of Health Volunteer Awards.  “The health volunteer awards celebrate and recognise the thousands of dedicated health sector volunteers who give many hours of their time to help other New Zealanders,” Mr Hipkins ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Community COVID-19 Fund supports Pacific recovery
    The Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio says a total of 264 groups and individuals have successfully applied for the Pacific Aotearoa Community COVID-19 Recovery Fund, that will support Pacific communities drive their own COVID-19 recovery strategies, initiatives, and actions. “I am keen to see this Fund support Pacific ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Community benefits from Māori apprenticeships
    Up to 50 Māori apprentices in Wellington will receive paid training to build houses for their local communities, thanks to a $2.75 million investment from the Māori Trades and Training Fund, announced Employment Minister Willie Jackson today. “This funding will enable Ngāti Toa Rangatira Incorporated to provide its Ngā Kaimahi ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Training fund supports Māori jobseekers
    Rapidly growing sectors will benefit from a $990,000 Māori Trades and Training Fund investment which will see Wellington jobseekers supported into work, announced Employment Minister Willie Jackson today. “This funding will enable Sapphire Consultants Ltd. to help up to 45 Māori jobseekers into paid training initiatives over two years through ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Ruakura Inland Port development vital infrastructure for Waikato
    The Government is investing $40 million to develop an inland port at Ruakura which will become a freight super-hub and a future business, research and residential development for the Waikato, Urban Development and Transport Minister Phil Twyford, and Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta announced today. The funding has been has ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Appointments made to Defence Expert Review Group
    Defence Minister Ron Mark announced today the establishment of an Expert Review Group to review a number of aspects of the New Zealand Defence Force’s (NZDF) structure, information management and record-keeping processes.  The Expert Review Group’s work arises out of the first recommendation from the Report of the Government’s Inquiry ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • No active community cases of COVID-19
    There are no active community cases of COVID-19 remaining in the country after the last people from the recent outbreak have recovered from the virus, Health Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “This is a big milestone. New Zealanders have once again through their collective actions squashed the virus. The systems ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Clean energy upgrade for more public buildings
    More public buildings will be supported by the Government to upgrade to run on clean energy, the Minister for Climate Change James Shaw announced today. Minister Shaw announced that Lincoln and Auckland universities will receive support through the Clean-Powered Public Service Fund to replace fossil fuel boilers. Southern, Taranaki, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Schools back donations scheme for the second year
    More schools have opted in to the donations scheme for 2021, compared to 2020 when the scheme was introduced. “The families of more than 447,000 students will be better off next year, with 94% of eligible schools and kura opting into the scheme,” Education Minister Chris Hipkins said. “This is ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Ruapehu cycle trails gets PGF boost
    The spectacular Mountains to Sea cycle trail in Ruapehu District will receive $4.6 million in funding from the Provincial Growth Fund for two additional trails, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced today. “This is an exciting development for the local community, and one that will provide significant economic opportunities ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Update to air border order strengthens crew requirements
    Additional measures coming into effect on Monday will boost our defence against COVID-19 entering New Zealand through the air border, Health Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “As part of our precautionary approach and strategy of constant review, we’re tightening the requirements around international aircrew,” Chris Hipkins said. The COVID-19 Public ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • A true picture of Māori business activity
    A better picture of the contribution Māori businesses make to the economy will be possible with changes to the way information is collected about companies and trading enterprises. Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta and Small Business Minister Stuart Nash have announced a new option for Māori enterprises who are part ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • PGF funding for Taranaki projects
    The South Taranaki museum, a New Plymouth distillery and a Pasifika building firm will benefit from a Government investment totalling more than $1 million, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones says. The $1.05m in grants and loans from the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) will help the recipients expand and create ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Fijian Language Week 2020 inspires courage and strength during COVID-19 pandemic
    The Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio says the theme for the 2020 Fijian Language Week reflects the strong belief by Fijians that their language and culture inspires courage and strength that is strongly needed in times of emergencies, or through a significant challenge like the global COVID-19 pandemic ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Trades training builds on iwi aspirations
    An investment of $2.025 million from the Māori Trades and Training Fund will support Māori to learn new skills while making a positive difference for their communities, announced Employment Minister Willie Jackson today. “K3 Development Limited Partnership will receive $2,025,000 for its Takitimu Tuanui apprenticeship programme, which will support the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago