MANA Leader Hone Harawira
Why the poor are becoming poorer
Wednesday 23rd May
“Once upon a time we were proud of having a health system that catered for everyone but now you pay for the privilege
every step of the way” says MANA Leader Hone Harawira.
“Health Minister Tony Ryall, who earns $257k, can afford to smile when he hikes prescription charges another $2 but for
those struggling to make the right choices with little money, two bucks means deciding whether to get your medicine or
Harawira said that research showed that Maori already had a higher rate of uncollected prescriptions “because they just
can’t afford it” and expected that figure to get worse with the higher charges.
“When kids get sick, mums will be forced to choose which medicines to buy and which ones to leave and they will pray
they get it right” said Harawira, “and when old people get sick, they will just go without …”
“That will see more poor people being admitted to hospital because they’ll get sick when they haven’t taken their
medicine due to the cost - and taxpayers will have to fork out $1,000 per person, per day”.
Harawira said that all it would take was one in 500 to wind up in hospital and that’d be government’s savings gone down
the toilet. “Go figure.”
“As for the proposal to throw money at more swabs for rheumatic fever, let’s not kid ourselves” said Harawira. “More
swabs are good but even Dr Lance O’Sullivan admits that they won’t fix the root cause of the problem which is poor
“In case you weren’t sure what National’s housing policy is,” said Harawira, “take a look at Glen Innes where they’re
kicking poor people out of good homes, Hobsonville where they’ve just cancelled a perfectly good housing project and
communities all over the country where housing estates are being sold off to private developers.”
Harawira said that NZ had a health system that worked for those who could afford it “but that those who needed it most
were the ones who would be forced to the back of the queue.”
“And higher prescription charges will make sure that’s where they stay …”