Over 100 people attended Annette King’s final public meeting in Waikanae as deputy Labour Party Leader and spokesperson for Health.
Mrs King began her career as the Labour member for Horowhenua in 1984 which included much of Waikanae, so it was fitting that the region was the last to host Mrs King before she stands down as deputy leader.
The lively meeting focused on the Health Services on the Kāpiti Coast with a number of speeches from experts and forty-five minutes of questions from the audience.
“There were a number of issues that the audience raised,” said Rob McCann, the meeting organiser and local Labour candidate. “With an older population there was a real concern about home help care. One resident Mayme Chanwai, a stroke survivor, found her new service provider did not even have her name on their register just one day before taking over the provision of her home help care.
“While this was eventually rectified, a lack of communication, inability to roster correctly and over-worked healthcare workers have plagued the system.
Mr McCann said the Health Care Workers conveyed their frustration at a system that; failed to register clients when they were in or out of hospital; that was consistently inaccurate with information and frequently told its workers that everything was fine while systematic failures caused hardships for both workers and clients
“The lack of affordable and available health care in the region was lamented by both senior citizens and young mums,” said Mr McCann. “We have doctors open till 10pm, but pharmacies shutting prior to that.
Many of the audience were unhappy at the level of services available in the region, and there was palpable anger that under the National Government, the after-hours closure of Kenepuru Hospital was mooted to reduce the Capital and Coast District Health Board’s deficit.
Annette King answered these and many more questions, and reminded the audience that while New Zealand has a world class health system, the $1.7 billion dollar gap in the health budget was stretching the system to breaking point.
“It’s a matter of priorities,” says Mrs King. “This government has ignored the population and inflationary pressures in Health. Now you are paying for those poor decisions. Waiting lists are not the same across the country while too many people are being bumped off these arbitrary lists.”
Mrs King also spoke about graduate nurses who are unable to find work, while an ageing nursing population is creating a retirement time bomb.
“Labour has a plan to ensure our health system works for everyone,” said Mr McCann, “but in order for us to ensure all New Zealanders get the healthcare they deserve, we must change the government.”
The meeting ended with flowers being presented by long serving party members to the impressive Mrs King. For further information about the outcomes from the meeting contact Rob McCann at [email protected]