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Commissioner Needed To Curb West Coast DHB Secrecy

Commissioner Needed To Curb West Coast DHB Secrecy

The Democrats for Social Credit are calling for the appointment of a Commissioner to rein in the tide of secrecy which is enveloping the West Coast DHB following the embargoing of its public meeting agendas and board papers.

The board’s move closely follows the recent release of the Democrat’s survey conducted by their social issues researcher David Tranter which showed that the West Coast DHB, the smallest in the country, is the third most secretive according to the number of items discussed in-committee at its 2004 monthly meetings.

Since the one dissenting member, John Vaile, has stated that the embargo was not discussed at any meeting he attended and was not recorded in any minutes, it appears that the dictatorial stance of board chair Gregor Coster knows no bounds Mr. Tranter said. “This hardly surprises me given the episode when an email I sent to Mr. Coster raising local health concerns resulted in him blocking my emails and referring my query to the c.e.o. – the head of the corporate office whose obtuseness was the very reason I wrote to him”.

The Democrats welcome local M.P. and associate health minister Damien O’Connor’s publicly expressed concerns about this latest intensifying of board secrecy and calls on him to convert that concern to positive action given that, as Mr. O’Connor states, “his government required openness and accountability from DHBs”. (Westport News 27 July).

Failing that, and given Mr. O’Connor’s past record I am not optimistic, the only solution is to appoint a commissioner to investigate why the smallest DHB in the country is so secretive about its processes, Mr. Tranter said. Given the massive costs of the board’s so-called “democratic processes” – when the total West Coast budget was around $33 million their democratic processes cost $1.4 million – the least the public are entitled to is the openness which was repeatedly promised by Health Minister Annette King.


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