Friday, August 06, 2010

Back to the 90's II

Another sign we're back in the 90's: massive protest marches against health cuts:

Up to 10,000 marched through central Dunedin at lunchtime today protesting the possible loss of neurosurgery services.

Starting in the Octagon, the protest was led by Dunedin Mayor Peter Chin and Invercargill mayor Tim Shadbolt, and finished with the crowd encircling Dunedin Hospital.

Mr Chin said he and the region's other mayors want to send a strong message to the Government that the proposal is not acceptable.

The protest follows an independent report's suggestion to put all six of the South Island's neurosurgeons in Canterbury.

10,000 people is almost 10% of the population. Like mining, people feel strongly about health cuts. And its not hard to see why: because one day, everyone is going to need to go to hospital for something. And they want that hospital to be close, not a five hour drive away.

If Ryall keeps cutting, there will be more such protests. And eventually, some of them will happen in electorates National cares about. OTOH, under MMP its the party vote that matters, and the vote of a grumpy person in Dunedin North counts just as much as one in rural Southland. And that means that widespread disgruntlement in predominantly Labour areas is still something the government needs to worry about.