NZ government spending less on health

Issue 

NZ government spending less on health

By Ian Powell

WELLINGTON — Since the 1991 budget the National Party government has overturned New Zealand's health service by converting area health boards into profit-oriented companies (crown health enterprises) operating on commercial principles.

As part of the exercise, the government introduced wide-ranging user charges in 1992.

A report by the Ministry of Education, Health Expenditure Trends in New Zealand, has revealed that New Zealanders are digging deeper into their pockets to pay for rising health costs as the government's share of spending drops. Private health spending increased during 1992-1993 by 14%.

In 1991-1992 spending by individuals, health insurers and charitable organisations was only 10.1% of total health spending; 12 months later this had increased to 23.5%.

Government spending per head of population dropped by $21, but private spending per head increased by $47.

Also significant was the fall in spending as a percentage of gross domestic product, from 7.71% in 1991-1992 to 7.5% in 1992-1993.