Is Luxon Lying Or Out Of The Loop On St John Funding? – First Union

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Ambulance officers have been left scratching their heads this morning following a Budget week Breakfast interview in which Prime Minister Chris Luxon claimed Hato Hone St John “actually don’t want to be 100% funded” by Government; a claim that contradicts the organisation’s own reports and reveals a dangerous indifference or disconnection from the reality of the country’s underfunded and struggling ambulance service, according to FIRST Union.

FIRST Union has confirmed following the Prime Minister’s interview that Hato Hone St John Chief Executive, Peter Bradley, says the organisation is seeking 100% of all St John operating costs and key infrastructure to be funded by the Government. Mr Bradley told FIRST Union representatives this morning that St John intended to “restate (their) position” to the Prime Minister’s office following the interview, and clarified that the organisation is “advocating for all (our) operating costs to be covered as of now, and aren’t waiting until 1 July 2026,” when St John’s current contract with the Government concludes.

FIRST Union Ambulance officers have voted for a “media strike” ahead of the Budget so that they are publicly protected in relaying the extreme need for greater funding of St John, whose activities are presently only 82.4% funded by Government and the rest made up by donations, sponsorships and patient charges.

“It was really shocking to hear the Prime Minister claim that St John don’t actually want any more money from Government when we’ve been sitting at the bargaining table with them since December last year and have been repeatedly told that a wage freeze is in place because Government funding isn’t sufficient for ambulance officers to receive any pay increase,” said Faye McCann, FIRST Union national coordinator for ambulance services.

“Someone’s lying or out of the loop, and the Prime Minister seems to have made up his mind before Budget day that one of the most neglected and threadbare health services in our country has no need of further funding.”

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Ms McCann said that despite claims to the contrary, frontline staff confirmed that St John was struggling to retain skilled ambulance officers and had lost long-serving staff whose experience was invaluable. She said that with some starting pay rates below a living wage, it was no wonder that many would-be ambulance officers were taking their qualifications overseas or considering other transportation jobs like trucking, which tended to offer better pay and had fewer responsibilities like carrying passengers or obtaining relevant medical qualifications.

Tom Bannan, an Emergency Medical Technician at St John with over thirty years’ experience who was speaking on behalf of FIRST Union, told Breakfast that they were not currently able to deliver the service expected of them by New Zealanders, and St John required full funding from Government to meet its own aims.

“If you turn up to a job where someone’s been waiting hours for a response from emergency services, you’re on the back foot right away and dealing with a bigger problem,” said Mr Bannan.

“Staff are having to make apologies on behalf of St John, which is not our job, and the people who need us are often let down and frustrated by the time we arrive.”

“It’s a really bad feeling to let people down, and they are right to expect better. It’s embarrassing for ambulance officers, and it has to change now.”

1 COMMENT

  1. Cluxsfuck is an arsehole his slogans and onliners are becoming monotonous this rich-prick is detached from reality where everyday I’m witnessing people sleeping rough and some of them are old people with no security in their vunerable age.

    Free Aotearoa

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