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Queenstown economist Benje Patterson announces Candidacy


Invercargill-born economist, and Queenstown resident Benje Patterson has announced his candidacy for the Southland constituency in the Southern District Health Board elections.

Mr Patterson has entered the race to ensure a strong voice for families and those facing difficulty accessing vital health services.

“My day job as an economist means I am an expert in guiding decisions supported by hard facts,” said Mr Patterson.

“Health service provision can’t be something dictated by managerial convenience, instead it must be based on real evidence about real people and their wellbeing.”

“A dangerous lack of maternity facilities in Queenstown and across rural Southland worries me and my wife,” said Mr Patterson.

“We are fortunate that my wife has been able to birth safely at Southland Hospital, but not every mother is so lucky,” he said.

Unreasonable delays in bowel cancer screening are also alarming.

Mr Patterson fears that Dunedin’s new hospital could further undermine healthcare in Southland and Queenstown without strong advocacy.

“We don’t want to find we are in a position where health services in Southland are scaled back because it is deemed more convenient to treat people at Dunedin’s new hospital,” he said.

As a first-time candidate for the Southern DHB, Mr Patterson does not carry the baggage which some sacked former board members seeking re-election may have.

“I come to this election with a fresh face and optimism that together we can improve the health and wellbeing of people across Southland,” concluded Mr Patterson.

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