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Board members have the right to speak their minds

27 February 2008

Elected Board members have the right to speak their minds

Green Party Health Spokesperson Sue Kedgley says she has grave concerns about today's abrupt dismissal of the Hawkes Bay District Health Board and the Health Minister's appointment of a Commissioner.

"It appears to be a politically motivated act driven by the Minister's irritation at a Chairman of a District Health Board, who was prepared to speak his mind," Ms Kedgley says.

"This is a huge concern to the Green Party as we believe it is vital that health board members are not censored in what they have to say, but retain the right to speak their minds.

"While I obviously am not privy to the detailed deliberations, it seems bizarre that the Minister would sack the entire board for a deficit of $7.7 million, and yet leave the Capital and Coast District Health Board intact when it has a much larger $27 million deficit.

"It also seems odd that the Minister is taking this drastic action and expressing no confidence in an elected board which has been in place for just 72 days, Ms Kedgley says.

The Green Party is also concerned that the Minister was sacking the board before the outcome of the Report into Governance of the Hawkes Bay District Health Board, instigated after a conflict of interest question was raised.

"The question is, will we ever see this report if the board is removed and we are left with a Commissioner who is appointed by the Minister?"

Ms Kedgley said she was surprised to see that Sir John Anderson had been parachuted in, yet again, to solve this crisis, soon after his appointment as Chair of the Capital and Coast DHB, to solve the crisis there.

"Sir John Anderson seems to be the Knight in Shining Armour who is brought in to fix every failing entity. I am wondering whether he has time to solve all the many problems that have ended up on his plate."

Ms Kedgley said the Greens also wanted assurance that the level of services in Hawkes Bay DHB would not be cut and that this was not a cost cutting exercise.

ENDS

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