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Upper Hutt To Fight For Seats On DHB

PRESS RELEASE

Upper Hutt To Fight For Seats On DHB

Mayor Wayne Guppy said today that the Upper Hutt City Council adamantly opposes the Government’s proposals to abolish DHB constituencies. The City currently has 2 of the 7 elected members on the Hutt Valley District Health Board and fears that with the proposed move to election at large, Upper Hutt may end up with no representation at all.

At the 2001 elections, the total number of electors for the District Health Board was 90,338, with only 25,322 of these being Upper Hutt residents. These statistics clearly identify Upper Hutt as being at risk of losing its voice, in the big city, small city partnership.

Upper Hutt has seen its health services whittled away over the years, notably losing Elderslea Maternity Hospital and its late night after hours clinic. Residents already have to travel long distances to Hutt Hospital and the city runs the risk of being isolated in a major disaster. Mayor Guppy stated that Council believes that any further erosion of Upper Hutt based services would be unacceptable and having a voice on the DHB is crucial in ensuring that Upper Hutt’s health outcomes are safeguarded.

He expressed concern that if electors were voting right across the Valley for one candidate list, Upper Hutt candidates would be swamped by those from Lower Hutt. “It will be very expensive for our people to campaign right across the region, but Upper Hutt votes alone, will not be enough to get people elected. People may see this as an impossible task and not even stand.”

The Council has urged the Government to reconsider its proposal and retain the status quo, in order to safeguard the community’s basic democratic right to fair and effective representation. “We fear otherwise that the health of Upper Hutt residents may be placed at risk for political expediency.”

ENDS

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