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DHB ‘elections a farce’, says Grey Power

District Health Board ‘elections a farce’, says Grey Power

New Zealand Grey Power Federation national president Graham Stairmand expressed outrage today over reports the government is preventing District Health Board members from representing the communities that elected them.

Recent statements by board members and newspaper reports say newly elected DHB members have been told by Health Minister Annette King their first priority is to the Ministry, their second to the Health Board itself, and only then should they seriously consider community concerns.

“People often suspect this sort of pressure comes from Ministers,” Mr Stairmand says, “but it’s not often seen to be so blatant. This makes a complete mockery of democracy. Worse, it is being encouraged from the highest levels of government.

Response from Grey Power members in other parts of the country suggest the problem is a national concern.

Mr. Stairmand represents a Grey Power membership of more than 80,000 over-fifties, and is recognised as a spokesman for many of the three-quarters of a million retired New Zealanders. He says the ballot box must be considered sacrosanct.

“We elect the people to do the job we want. I wouldn’t expect an elected Member of Parliament to represent the better interests of Australia and I do not expect a member of a community elected to the local District Health Board to represent the better interests of the government in Wellington,” Mr. Stairmand says.

“The elderly of this country are already desperately struggling just to have access to adequate hospital and medical care, and they have a right to expect those people they elect to their hospital board to support them in that struggle.

“Too many of our members have paid their dues in overseas battlefields to allow this sort of totalitarian nonsense to start up in New Zealand,” Mr Stairmand says.

Grey Power members will have a chance to question Health Minister Annette King and other party spokespersons at a Mana/Tawa Grey Power Association health forum next week.

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