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Letter to David Tranter

3 December 2001 Media Statement

Letter to David Tranter

Health Minister Annette King says National Party health spokesperson Roger Sowry has it wrong again in accusing her of trying to muzzle District Health Board members.

Mrs King was replying to a charge by Mr Sowry that she had tried to “muzzle” new West Coast DHB member David Tranter by writing to tell him he was elected to the board to meet “party objectives”.

“If Mr Sowry wants to be critical of anything, he should actually be criticising the legibility of my handwriting, not trying to drum up controversies where even he, with his limited understanding of health issues, knows none exists.

“The idea of anyone trying to muzzle Mr Tranter, who is one of the busiest health voices in New Zealand, is absolutely laughable. And Mr Sowry shows incredible naivete if he actually believes any political party could get away with telling non-partisan elected board members that they must follow party objectives.

“Maybe National could get away with directives to their non-elected boards, but it is a totally different environment now.”

Mrs King said she had asked the Ministry of Health for the original copy of the letter she sent to Mr Tranter.

“My handwriting is probably better than that of most health professionals, but there is room for improvement. I wrote in longhand the word ’policy’ and this was transcribed as ‘party’ when the letter was typed. The letter was signed on my behalf and sent out from Wellington while I was in Christchurch last week.

“And the word ‘policy’ quite clearly refers to policy objectives of the New Zealand Health Strategy, as formalised in the New Zealand Public Health and Disability Act last year.”


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