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Capital Coast Health Puts Up The Battlements


A memo leaked from Capital & and Coast Health says their tactic in their public consultation is to delay replies to information requests.

Wellington Regional Councillor Robert Shaw says the memo signed "Chris" appears to have been written by Chris Clarke the Director of Health Services Development. It is addressed to Margo Mains, the chief executive.

Councillor Shaw said there was no reliable way of telling who was the public spirited person who sent him the internal email.

"The use of the word 'tactic' shows there is a battle mentality in CCH" Cr Shaw said.

"Taxpayers money to being used to fight the public."

"Decisions on how to handle information requests appear to have been made in anticipation of the public wanting to know more about CCHs plan to spend 90% of the $290 million capital fund in Newtown."

The memo discusses two means of withholding information.

The first, is to wait for 20 days before releasing information.

The second, is to treat requests for information as submissions and not respond until after decisions are made.

The 20-day approach is to acknowledge requests for information but to decline to release the information until for 20 days whilst their current public consultation proceeds.

"Twenty days is the maximum time allowed to clear requests under the Official Information Act, but it was never envisaged that this time frame should be used to frustrate the public" Councillor Shaw said.

"CCHs attitude to public participation in decision making appears contrary Government's directive on consultation" he said.

"Cabinet late last year cleared a 9 page statement on consultation by District Health Boards. The mechanics of the process count for nothing if managers in CCH do not have the right attitude."

"The possibility of a legal challenge to the decision making processes at CCH now looms."

"A legal challenge could delay the building of the new Newtown Hospital and force a re-consideration of the Porirua site."

"The Porirua site was originally designed for a 1000 bed hospital and CCH now want to abandon it, and shift the last 6 hospital beds to the Porirua Town Centre. It is little wonder that they do not want to answer quesitons" Cr Shaw added.

Text of memo is below: Hi margot It does not rain but it pours. Brett and I will tackle in light of Bob's comments the other day ie we will treat as an OIA and decline to release on the grounds the business case is not complete and the commerical in confidence. Tactically I think we will acknowledge the request, explain we are treating it as an OIA and apply the 20 day rule. The alternative is to treat it as a submission to the consultation process that the Board will consider at the end of the process - either way we will get advice. Will of course put the response through legal and yourself. Chris

----------

More about Robert: http://robertshaw.freeyellow.com/index.html

From: Robert Shaw 43 Eskdale Road Papakowhai Porirua City NEW ZEALAND

Direct telephone / fax: +64 4 233 0252 Email: robert.shaw@xtra.co.nz


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