HBL has brought down Tony Ryall a previously respected Health Minister

Political Opinion: 
by Peter Petterson

It was  revealed this afternoon that former Health Minister Tony Ryall, who was thought by many to be a highly respected Minister, was forced to quit by Finance Minister Bill English after it became clear that the much vaunted crown owned entity, Health Benefits Limited (HBL), had become a financial disaster.

Now you won’t read this into today’s  press and online stories. No mention of Tony Ryall, the man with those gaudy ties on television interviews. He has just disappeared and the government‘s new minister, is  former Defence Minister Jonathan Coleman. The government has announced yesterday that it would axe its controversial health cost-cutting entity, Health Benefits (HBL) but still expected district health boards to save $620 million over four years.

NBL was set up,reportedly, by the National Government in 2010 to save DHB’s $700 million over five years.

The Government has now agreed to explore a proposal put forward by DHB’s to move the shared services program to a DHB- owned vehicle and to wind down the discredited HBL.

This would be Health-Alliance to be owned by the three Auckland DHB‘s. Labour supports Minister Coleman’s decision, but the venture was considered a waste of money.

The old HBL scheme was described by one critic as a Ponzi Scheme This has destroyed Tony Ryall’s political career, though the Government  has white-washed Ryall’s involvement. He will be generously compensated somehow or another.

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