Ministers enthuse at their economic prowess but polls suggest the public recognises a failure to tackle poverty

Government  ministers   are  exulting  over  how the  NZ  economy is performing—  and  their  own work  in  making it stronger.

David  Clark,  standing in  for  Grant  Robertson in Parliament on Tuesday, rejoiced at  how  solid the  “underlying  fundamentals of the  NZ economy are”.  He said the government  accounts for the June  year   showed how the coalition  had achieved  “strong financial results,  while also making significant  investments in well-being and infrastructure”.

Robertson,  singing from  the  same   songbook, celebrated NZ’s economic strength and resilience being recognised in a major update on the state of the global economy.

The IMF’s latest World Economic Outlook  shows   NZ’s  growth   forecasts   have held  steady  at  2.5%  in 2019, rising  to 2.7%   next year, against  the 1.7%  for the  rest of  the so-called  “Advanced Economies”. Continue reading “Ministers enthuse at their economic prowess but polls suggest the public recognises a failure to tackle poverty”

Failure to lift the wellbeing of our public health service helps explain slippage in Labour’s poll support

Diabetes amputations  top 1000” :  so ran a headline in  the  NZ  Herald over a  report  on  what   is becoming  one of the  public health disasters  in this   country.

Public health  is the  science  and art of preventing  disease, prolonging  life and promoting health  through organised  efforts of  society, says Professor Sir David  Skegg, one of  NZ’s most respected  epidemiologists.

Unfortunately NZ’s performance  in this is even less adequate  than its treatment services”.

He cites   weak leadership and a  lack of  political  will as fundamental problems  for public health in  NZ. Continue reading “Failure to lift the wellbeing of our public health service helps explain slippage in Labour’s poll support”

Setting a suicide-reduction target might have been detrimental to the govt’s wellbeing

The headline on a statement released from the PM’s Office on the eve of the official release of the Wellbeing Budget tells us the government is Taking mental health and addiction seriously.

To demonstrate this, the government has accepted, accepted in principle, or agreed to further consideration of 38 of the 40 recommendations in the report of the Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction.

This raises an obvious question:  which two recommendations have been rejected?

The press statement gives the answer:

  • The Directing the State Services Commission to report on options for creating a ‘locus of responsibility’ for social wellbeing within Government; and
  • Set a target of 20% reduction in suicide rates by 2030.

Continue reading “Setting a suicide-reduction target might have been detrimental to the govt’s wellbeing”

The govt has no national health target for elective surgery – perhaps David Clark should tell his ministry

The Ministry of Health website and the Minister of Health are out of synch, when it comes to elective surgery.

On a page last updated on August 10 last year, readers will find a section headed Health targets: Improved access to elective surgery.

This says the Government has directed the ministry to develop a new set of performance measures to improve health outcomes for New Zealanders.

While work is underway to develop these new measures DHBs will continue to report to the Ministry against the current set of health targets, as well as against a previously established suite of wider measures.

Readers are referred to the Health targets page for more information on the development of new measures.

On the specific matter of improved access to elective surgery, a sub-heading asks:  What is the target?

The answer (drum roll, please) is: 

The volume of elective surgery will be increased by an average of 4000 discharges per year.

Continue reading “The govt has no national health target for elective surgery – perhaps David Clark should tell his ministry”

A Green minister finds favour with farming – in this case, to torpedo gold mining plans

It took them a few days to reflect on things, after Land Information Minister Eugenie Sage declined Oceana Gold’s application to purchase land adjacent to its Waihi mine under the Overseas Investment Act.

But Straterra, New Zealand’s minerals sector industry organisation, has publicly expressed disappointment and contends the decision was based explicitly on her anti-mining ideology.

“The application was declined by the Land Information Minister apparently on the grounds that the land would be better retained for dairying.”

If this be so, Sage will have been ideologically conflicted.

The Greens are notoriously hostile to mining – but when did they last come out in favour of dairying? Continue reading “A Green minister finds favour with farming – in this case, to torpedo gold mining plans”

Where’s Dr Clark while doctors press for more pay? Providing rewards for volunteer health workers

Health Minister David Clark stoically resists pleas to intervene in the nation-wide junior doctors’ strike, which has resulted in thousands of doctors downing tools – or stethoscopes – following  failed negotiations with district health boards on employment conditions.

But he has announced rewards for volunteer health workers and he has responded to questions in Parliament about the impact the doctors’  is having on patients.

Whether Clark has a thorough appreciation of all the impacts – and/or will publicly reveal them if he does – is arguable, but according to RNZ:   Continue reading “Where’s Dr Clark while doctors press for more pay? Providing rewards for volunteer health workers”

Budget surpluses are Robertson’s aim but well-being pressures will test his prowess

Finance  Minister Grant Robertson has headed for Washington for the spring meetings of the  IMF  and  World Bank,  as  well as  for  talks   with other   finance  ministers  and  senior  US  government  officials.

Despite  the darkening cloud  on the global  economy   Robertson  is  gung-ho  about the  state of the  NZ  economy,  although  he   concedes that, as an outward-facing export nation,

“ … NZ is not immune to this global uncertainty, and we have to bear that in mind as we transition to a more productive, sustainable, and inclusive economy”.

In  Parliament  before   his  departure for  Washington  he cited reports which indicate the NZ economy continues to out-perform its international peers.  Continue reading “Budget surpluses are Robertson’s aim but well-being pressures will test his prowess”