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Posts Tagged ‘Maryan Street’

Health By Numbers

Posted by on December 19th, 2012

Both Vernon Small and Corin Dann anointed Tony Ryall their politician of the year. Both cited the same reason: When was the last time you heard of a health scandal?

I agree that Tony Ryall is the best politician on National’s front bench. But that doesn’t make him a good Health Minister. By forcing hospitals to focus on delivering short term statistics he can crow about in Parliament and micro-managing any emerging issue that will resonate with National’s base he has managed the politics of the health portfolio sublimely.

But by sucking resources out of public and primary health and refusing to do anything to prevent the looming obesity crisis or the fact that poverty is a primary driver of ill health, Tony Ryall is setting future health ministers up for massive problems. They will have to grapple with a health system that simply will not be able to cope with the demand that will be placed upon it. Very difficult choices will have to be made about how much we spend on health, how the revenue is raised and what the public health system can deliver. If we leave that all too late, drastic steps will need to be taken and the public health system as we know it will cease to exist.

Just like superannuation, National has their head in the sand on health. They are more worried about getting the numbers right for today’s political purposes rather than doing what is right for the future.

Tony Ryall has build a magnificent house of cards. It looks splendid right now, but the signs it could collapse at any time are there:

Maryan Street has already called Ryall out on his dodgy elective surgery numbers. Simple procedures get priority over more complex surgeries regardless of the outcome they achieve for the sole purpose of getting the numbers up.

At the Health Select Committee fincncial review of the Ministry of Health I pointed out that despite both Labour and National getting elective surgery waiting times down to now being on par with the USA and National diverting resources into getting more and more surgeries done, New Zealand ranks amongst the worst developed countries for post-operative complications such as infections and surgical items being left in the patient. So it’s all about quantity, not quality. Of course, those post-op complications are costly and soak up resources that could be used on better things.

Today there is an emerging story that the national screening programme which identifies hearing irregularities in newborns has been botched resulting in up to two-thousand babies being recalled to hospital to have their hearing re-checked. Why? Because some of the screeners only tested one ear and, bizarrely, some tested themselves rather than the baby. As Associate Health Minister Jo Goodhew had to concede on Radio NZ this morning the only logical explanation for this was to save time, get more tests done and produce the numbers the Government is looking for.

Good on the Government for dumping this story after Parliament has risen so this little health scandal can be squashed before the next question time and good on Ryall for sending Goodhew to face the music. Perhaps it was to make up for his sexist graphic about doctors and nurses (which again contained dodgy numbers).

Tony Ryall the best politician of 2012? Yes. But he’s a crap Health Minister and we will all be paying for it in the future.


Horror and sorrow

Posted by on July 23rd, 2011

It’s hard to know what to say about what’s happened in Norway.

At least 87 people killed. 80 at a Labour Party summer camp. Our thoughts are with the Norwegians. It’s a small, stable country much like ours.

Events are still unfolding.

That’s for the police and others to comment on. For now, the people of Norway need to know that we are shocked and horrified and standing with them in whatever way we can.

Norway is a peaceful nation. Phil Goff and Maryan Street have sent their condolences today.

Norway hosted and worked hard to negotiate the Oslo Accords in an attempt to resolve the ongoing Israel-Palestine conflict and made a huge effort in its work to find peace in war embattled Sri Lanka, Phil said.

It’s a country much like ours in many respects and we in the Labour Party have many personal contacts with Norwegian politicians, Maryan said.

I know we are all thinking about Norway today as they face the aftermath of this tragedy.


Ethical trade bites the dust

Posted by on July 29th, 2009

Tonight I tried to move our arcane systems around trade forward a notch. I introduced a member’s bill to prohibit the importation of products made from slave labour. You wouldn’t think the government felt so concerned by it that they needed to reject it but that’s what they did.

We seem to be able to prohibit products made from prison labour from getting into NZ but we can’t seem to do it around the fruits of slave labour.

In the end, things are changing. Old economic orders have crumbled and we need to devise new ones. Raising the flag for ethical trade isn’t such a big ask is it? Certainly 17,000 Kiwi consumers represented by Geoff White and Trade Aid supported a petition to Parliament for just this kind of law. In a few years, ethical trade will be the name of the game and we won’t be trading if we can’t demonstrate some standards.

I’m all in favour of free trade, but it doesn’t happen in a moral vacuum. Trade has to be at the right price – a fair price, an ethical price, not just any price.

Foreign Affairs and Trade officials told the select committee which finally considered the petition earlier this year, just how hard it would be to get a form of words which could be enforced, as well as a mechanism to do it. Well, we did it and do it for products made from prison labour. It seems to me that what we are missing is the political will. My bill was lost 58 votes (Lab/Greens/Maori/Prog/United) to 63 (Nats/Act).

You can be sure that if we never do anything, nothing will be done. Damn shame.


Labour bills in ballot today

Posted by on July 22nd, 2009

Maryan’s Bill was drawn today but in our feedback people wanted more info. This is the list. Let me know in the comments section the priority for extra information or copies. Eventually our systems will develop so it happens automatically.

  • Christchurch International Airport Protection Bill – Hon Clayton Cosgrove
  • Employment Relations (Protection of Young Workers) Bill – Lynne Pillay
  • Rodney District Council and North Shore City Council Referenda Bill – Darien Fenton
  • Papakura City Council and Franklin District Council Referenda Bill – Hon George Hawkins
  • Auckland Regional Council and Manakau City Council Referenda Bill – Carol Beaumont
  • Auckland City Council and Waitakere City Council Referenda Bill – Phil Twyford
  • Parental Leave and Employment Protection (Six Months Paid Leave) Amendment Bill – Sue Moroney
  • Electoral (Entrenchment of Maori Representation) Amendment Bill – Hon Mita Ririnui
  • Injury Prevention, Rehabilitation and Compensation (Change of Date for Full Funding) Amendment Bill – Hon David Parker
  • Credit Reforms (Responsible Lending) Bill – Charles Chauvel
  • Smoke-free Environments (Removing tobacco displays) Amendment Bill – Iain Lees-Galloway
  • Code of Airline Consumer Rights Bill – Dr Ashraf Choudhary
  • Customs and Excise (Prohibition of Imports Made by Slave Labour) Amendment Bill – Hon Maryan Street
  • Members of Parliament (Code of Ethical Conduct) Bill HV – Ross Robertson
  • Crimes (Abolition of Defence of Provocation) Amendment Bill – Hon Lianne Dalziel

Questions To Members Today

Posted by on July 21st, 2009

Teaser continues:-

Questions to Members

Hon MARYAN STREET to the Chairperson of the Education and Science Committee: Is the question of considering whether to forward a supplementary question on the Estimates for 2009/10 relating to advice the Ministry of Education or Tertiary Education Commission provided relating to the Budget’s funding of universities on the Committee’s agenda for its next meeting?

MOANA MACKEY to the Chairperson of the Education and Science Committee: Is the question of considering whether to forward a supplementary question on the Estimates for 2009/10 relating to advice the Ministry of Education or Tertiary Education Commission provided relating to the Budget’s impact on regional and rural polytechnics on the Committee’s agenda for its next meeting?

CARMEL SEPULONI to the Chairperson of the Education and Science Committee: Is the question of considering whether to forward a supplementary question on the Estimates for 2009/10 relating to advice the Ministry of Education or Tertiary Education Commission provided relating to the supplying of Cabinet papers on the youth guarantee scheme on the Committee’s agenda for its next meting?

KELVIN DAVIS to the Chairperson of the Education and Science Committee: Is the question of considering whether to forward a supplementary question on the Estimates for 2009/10 relating to advice the Ministry of Education has provided on each of the expenditure reductions within Vote Education on the Committee’s agenda for its next meeting?


Chopper Tolley Axes Night Classes

Posted by on June 8th, 2009

Over 200,000 kiwis are involved in continuing education. Over 200 secondary schools are involved. It costs the taxpayer about $16m a year.

In the early eighties I set up the King Country Rural Education Programme (REAP).  Adult and community education is a big part of its work. I saw what it did for hundreds of people, old and young, rich and poor, brown and white, people who had suceeded in their first go at post primary education and people who were getting their first real chance.

What was soon obvious to me is that most people get their education in irregular shapes. There is no standard pattern. For a few people it is relatively easy but for others taking that first bite, or the break from their regular life that keeps them sane, it is incredibly difficult.

I saw dozens of kids recruited from spacie parlours do shearing courses that led to them getting jobs – generally as pressers – with shearing gangs. I saw women who hadn’t been inside a secondary school for years learning to decorate cakes with an Army chef as a tutor. People doing assertiveness and self defence courses that changed their lives. People weaving baskets as their culture was renewed.

Many people kicked on and did more formal university education after their eyes were opened and their potential affirmed. Others just acquired a useful skill.

And Anne Tolley wants to chop the 80% of the funding not used for literacy.

Labour thinks that is very short sighted and Maryan Street has started a petition. Download it here.

What do you think?