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Health Board Nominations

MEDIA RELEASE, 17 February 2000

Health Board Nominations

Minister of Health Annette King today urged communities to nominate people they believe will be effective on their local health boards.

Nominations for additional directors to the existing Hospital and Health Services boards are being taken now.

Advertisements calling for nominations will appear in newspapers this Saturday and there will also be advertising on iwi radio stations.

"The first elections for district health boards will not be held until October next year, but there is an opportunity now for communities to have their say through nominating people to existing boards of Hospital and Health Services.

"These boards will become district health boards when legislation is passed later this year and they will operate until the elections next year, " Mrs King said.

"Over the next two weeks anyone can nominate themselves or another person to be considered for appointment. The Ministry of Health and the Crown Company Monitoring Unit are coordinating the process and will take nominations up until March 3.

(The selection criteria that will be used to select directors is attached.)

"As the boards will operate under the Companies Act until new legislation creating district health boards is passed later this year, the additional directors will need to be able to fulfil the current role as well as aid the move to the district health boards.

"A key aim of this Government is meeting the health needs of local communities, through increasing community involvement in decision-making.

"I expect both new and existing board members to be very receptive to hearing and considering community views, and to be clear about what both the Government and the community expects of them.

"The first opportunity for communities is now. More will come. I urge communities to make the most of them to ensure they are well served by their district health boards," Mrs King said.


The selection criteria, background information on the process of developing the district health boards follows, and how to make a nomination follows.

Guide to selection criteria for candidates for directors to Hospital and Health Service boards.


Candidates for board membership should have the following competencies:
· an ability to add value
· an ability to clearly communicate orally and in writing
· the capability for a wide perspective on issues
· integrity and a strong sense of ethics
· common sense
· organisational and strategic awareness
· an appreciation of the role of the Crown as a shareholder
· an ability to distinguish corporate governance from management
· financial literacy
· a well-developed critical faculty
· the ability to be information oriented
· a knowledge of the responsibilities of a director.

Collectively boards should have the following competencies to support the functions of a transition board:
· clear understanding of the importance of the governance and accountability drivers needed to establish new and robust organisational structures
· strategic leadership (including the ability to lead culture and value change)
· understanding of community and population health needs assessment and planning
· understanding of purchasing of health and disability support services
· understanding and awareness of the application of the Treaty of Waitangi to the health and disability sector including to board transitional functions.

· candidates should not have conflicts of interest that would inhibit their ability to successfully discharge the responsibilities of a board director
· candidates should not have committed any criminal offences which would bring into question the suitability of their character for board membership.

The Development of District Health Boards

What is the process for establishing district health boards?
There are three stages;
1. Hospital and Health Services boards will have additional director appointments made to them to help existing boards make the transition to district health boards. They will continue operating as they have done, but will start assessing how they need to change to develop into district health boards. Additional directors may be appointed to the existing 22 hospital boards to help them during this phase. Nominees are currently being sought.
2. These boards will develop into district health boards with the passing into law of the New Zealand Public Health Services bill, expected in November.
3. Elections for the district health boards will be held to coincide with the local body elections in October 2001.

What is occurring now?
The Ministry of Health and Crown Company Monitoring Advisory Unit are working with the chairs of the Hospital and Health Services' boards to assess their make-up.
The Minister may appoint additional directors to the boards where the assessment finds extra skills would be valuable in ensuring they can meet current requirements, as well as look towards the impending change in their role.
The Minister has called for nominations for the additional directorships.
Anyone can make a nomination by sending a curriculum vitae to;
PO Box 10465
Ref: HHS/DHB Appointments

Or faxing it to 04 499 2107 or emailing to

The closing date for the first round of appointments is March 3.
The Ministry and CCMAU will collate the nominations and help the Minister develop a shortlist for interviews. Recommended appointments will then be considered by the Cabinet Honours and Appointments Committee.
The successful and unsuccessful nominees will be informed before a public announcement is made. The Minister expects the new directors will have assumed their roles in May.

What will these boards do?
These boards will exist until the Public Health Services Bill is passed in November. Until then the boards will remain Hospital and Health Service boards, operating under the Companies Act.
While they are therefore required to continue carrying out their current functions until the legislative change, they will also need to be gearing up for the change.
This dual focus is why some boards may require additional directors

What will happen when the New Zealand Public Health Services Bill becomes law?
This signals a changed health system.
The subsequent repeal of the Health and Disability Safety Act will see the absorption of the Health Funding Authority and its funding operations into the Ministry of Health.
The Health and Hospital Services boards will then become district health boards.
These boards will then embark on their new role - being responsible for ensuring the community has access to appropriate
health care services.
The district health board is responsible for balancing the community's needs for primary health care, public health, disability support and hospital services.
A key accountability of the boards will be ensuring that one sector does not dominate at the expense of another area of health care. Each board will have two committees, one responsible for the governance of hospital services and the other for advising on primary care.
The district health boards will be required to assess the health needs of their communities and start developing strategic plans to meet identified needs.
These boards will dissolve when elections for the new board are held to coincide with local body elections in October or November 2001.
From then on board meetings will be open to the public and the media, although the board will need to go into committee on some agenda items that could be, for example, commercially sensitive. Basically the meetings will operate under the same principles as local authority meetings.

The new district health boards
The new district health boards will mostly comprise people elected by the community. Elections will coincide with local body elections.
The Minister will also appoint additional people to the boards to ensure balance in skills and representation within a district.

Why are these changes being made?
The changes are not being made for change's sake. They are part of the Government's plan to improve the health of New Zealanders. The abolition of the Health Funding Authority and the move to the district health boards will increase community input into decision making and once again make decision makers more directly accountable to the public.
The district health board structure will support the New Zealand Health Strategy. The strategy, being developed by the Ministry of Health, will provide a comprehensive framework under which health issues will be addressed.

What is the cost of this initiative?
Costs will be kept low. The district health boards will grow from the existing boards and elections will coincide with those for local bodies.


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