Simon Bridges says the Government is failing to deliver on its promises in the health sector when talking about a friend considering treatment abroad.
The National party leader told TVNZ1's Breakfast today: "We’re there making sure, where they [the Government] made promises around Pharmac, wellbeing in that area, around dealing to DHB deficits, around ensuring children have a better, healthier future and yet they didn’t deliver meningitis vaccinations – we’re doing our job so that actually New Zealanders get the economy that's strong, to deliver the wellbeing that New Zealanders deserve."
Mr Bridges called out the Government for "trumpeting" wellbeing but failing to deliver, as well as talking about district health boards' $400 million debt, saying: "David Clark (Health Minister) said he would deal to this".
"I'll tell you what's going wrong ... there's two things a health system need, I mean, there’s others – great people is one – but one is money, it needs more funding, it continuously needs that, they have failed to do that, right, they put their money into Fees Free and other things.
"The second thing it needs is accountabilities, measures, targets because that drives performance – and given lack of that, that is why we're seeing them failing to deliver, that's why we're seeing fewer elective surgeries, it means we're not seeing the cancer drugs, it means someone I know well and used to work with is thinking about going to Malaysia for their treatment - that's a Government that's failing to deliver on its promises."
When questioned on where the money for health would come from if he were in Government he said he'd need to look at the books first.
"Let me give you some options," he added. "Fees free - $2.8 billion, Shane Jones fund - $3 billion, Winston Peters and money into foreign affairs - a further billion dollars, Kiwibuild that's not working - $2 billion. I've got to the best part of $10 billion just there.
"When you've put only $40 million, in fact when you've cut it last year, $40 million over four years I think it is, into Pharmac, effectively it's going backwards in the cancer drugs, in the wonder drugs."
But, Mr Bridges said it's not just about money - criticising performance. "That's why we're unashamedly about having targets on elective surgeries, on immunisations, on all of these things that have gone by the way side so quickly under this Government."