The financial situation for New Zealand's District Health Boards is continuing to deteriorate, with newly released data showing all but one are in the red.

And the overall position is expected to get worst too, with the Ministry of Health forecasting an end of financial year deficit of more than half a billion dollars.

The combined deficit for all 20 District Health Boards (DHBs) stands at $103 million as of August last year – according to the latest data available.

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The total District Health Board deficit $170m higher than Govt had previously admitted


That's $20 million higher than the reported deficit at the same time the year prior.
The Ministry of Health (MoH) published the data in the first week of this month.

National's Health spokesman Michael Woodhouse said the data was "quietly released" by the MoH over the summer period so the numbers would get little attention.

He has accused Health Minister David Clark of putting DHBs in a perilous financial position through "sheer incompetence".

"David Clark has shown little appetite or ability to remedy the situation. He's out of his depth and he knows it, which is why he quietly released the data online over the summer period."

The August numbers are the first tranche to be released from the 2019/20 financial year.

As well as showing the $103 million deficit, the numbers also show that the MoH expects the overall DHB deficit to be $534 million by June this year.

At $23 million in the red, Canterbury DHB has the highest deficit, followed by Waikato with $15 million then Auckland at $10 million.

South Canterbury, the only DHB with a surplus, was $1 million in the black.


In the year to June 2019, DHBs reported an overall $1.1 billion deficit.

The DHBs' financial performance came under intense scrutiny as the deficit deepened.

Last year, the Herald revealed the Government was forced to pour extra emergency money into the DHBs after being warned hospital workers' pay could be affected without a bailout.

Information, released under the Official Information Act, revealed the Government had spent and extra $368 million more than it had expected on topping up DHB funding.

In December last year, the Government revealed it had enlisted the aid of former Ministers, chief executives, top-ranking officials and mayors to help get the country's embattled DHBs back on a firmer financial footing.

Former Finance Minister, and Tax Working Group chairman Sir Michael Cullen, was among 76 new District Health Board (DHB) chairpersons or board members.