27 Jun 2014

Key rubbishes ponzi scheme claims

6:24 pm on 27 June 2014

Claims that the Government's flagship health initiative resembles a ponzi scheme are nonsense, Prime Minister John Key says.

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Prime Minister John Key Photo: RNZ / Diego Opatowski

Health Benefits Limited was set up in 2010 to deliver savings by consolidating a lot of the back office functions of District Health Boards.

A leaked document written by a senior DHB manager said the initiative is the single biggest threat to the public health system in a generation. It said HBL - which is meant to make savings on the procurement of goods and services across DHBs - had striking similarities to a ponzi scheme.

The Labour Party has asked the Auditor-General to investigate, but Mr Key doesn't think that is necessary. He said Health Benefits Limited has had a lot of advantages and has, for the most part, performed reasonably well.

Health Minister Tony Ryall has declined to be interviewed by Radio New Zealand this week but was asked about the matter at an event in New Plymouth on Friday.

Mr Ryall said the ponzi description is a bit ridiculous and HBL has helped deliver $250 million of savings that have gone back into frontline services.

He dismissed concerns expressed in the leaked emails as politics.