Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search


Southern Cross members see bias in voting papers

Press Release
5 November 2009

Southern Cross members see bias in the voting papers

A growing number of Southern Cross members are finding fault with what they see as bias in the voting papers they have received for the election of directors.

More than 850,000 Southern Cross Medical Care Society members have received their voting papers for the forthcoming elections to appoint three directors to the board, with the official papers stating on four occasions that the board is supporting three of the four candidates.

The actual voting papers even list the fourth candidate, Jane Arnott, under a separate title of ‘Other candidates’, below the chosen three who appear under the title ‘Candidates supported by the Board’ (see below). The three are all sitting directors.

One member who has raised the issue, Catherine Bibbey from Christchurch, says she would have thought that the board would have wanted to be seen to take a more neutral stance.

“Surely all candidates should be treated equally and presented to electors in the same manner,” she says. “It is very discouraging to see one particular candidate’s bid for election handicapped to such an extent.”

Mrs Bibbey says she was so dismayed by the board’s approach that she voted for Ms Arnott and no one else to give Ms Arnott a greater chance.

“I feel a thinking voter might see the board’s approach as good reason to elect an independent voice who could raise issues without concern that if the issue was unpopular at board level it would impede their future chances of being re-elected.”

Dr Tim Dare, professional ethics lecturer and Head of Philosophy at the University of Auckland, is surprised by the form of the ballots.

“Think how you would feel if a sitting government put its endorsements on ballots in the general election. We would see an obvious conflict of interest, and it seems equally clear here,” he says.

“The board should not be campaigning for particular candidates, and certainly should not be doing so on the ballot paper.”

The papers also ask for voters to appoint the chairman as their proxy in the election, and again state that the board is supporting three candidates only. The election takes place at the AGM in Auckland on 26 November.

The only ‘other candidate’ acknowledges that she has received calls from members ranging from surprise to annoyance that the voting form appears to be so heavily weighted against her.

“Without question I have had both calls and emails’ suggesting that the process is ‘stacked’ and that it tries to steer votes in one direction,” Jane Arnott says.

“I think the important point is that having been nominated and therefore put forward by members it’s unfortunate that their judgement isn’t put to the test in a way that offers a ‘fair go’ for everyone.

“The strong support I received in previous elections, with over 19,000 votes, suggests that there are a number of members who would value an independent voice capable of articulating their concerns where appropriate.”

Ms Arnott, who has highlighted her ethics training in both New Zealand and London, has made it clear that ethics at a board level are important. She recently returned from presenting on the Role of the Ethical Audit at the European Academy of Business in Society at their 8th Annual Colloquium in Barcelona.

“I want to work with the board, using my specialist business ethics skills. Southern Cross has a lot to focus on what with the rising cost of treatments, the need to collaborate with private clinicians to gain the best outcome and the importance of keeping abreast of changes mooted for the Accident Compensation Corporation.”

Editor’s note:

Jane Arnott
(BA, Dip Prof Ethics)

Since completing her post-graduate qualification in professional ethics Jane has broadened her lengthy career in marketing and public relations to encompass a significant role as Country Manager for UK-based GoodCorporation – an audit and assessment company linked to the Institute of Business Ethics (London).

Jane’s work focuses on responsible business practices and addresses governance, transparency and risk management issues.

For Southern Cross Medical Care Society these areas are critical to the experiences of members and provide the basis for the Society’s reputation and sustainability over the long-term.

Her work helps companies ensure that reputation issues are identified and works to protect shareholder interests.

Jane’s understanding of this global challenge and her personal commitment to Southern Cross provides a unique director attribute that is aligned with the global trends to increase the role of ethics in business decision-making no matter what industry, sector or country.

Jane has recently returned to New Zealand from presenting on the ‘Role of the Ethical Audit’ at the European Academy of Business in Society 8th Annual colloquium in Barcelona.

Jane will bring a supportive and commercially practical view to decisions that have an ethical aspect or are related to the sales, marketing and branding of Southern Cross as it works to ensure new members and that existing members remain loyal.

Jane is a member of the Institute of Directors and is Chair (elect) of the NZ Native Species Foundation. She is a past executive director of New Zealand National Parks and Conservation Foundation.

The Form

Click for big version


© Scoop Media

Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


Westpac: Sets Out Plan To Go Cheque-Free

Westpac NZ has announced details of its plan to phase out cheques, after signalling in May that it would be supporting a move to other forms of payment. Cheques will cease to be available as a means of payment after 25 June 2021. Westpac NZ General ... More>>


NZTA: Major New Zealand Upgrade Programme Projects Go To Tender

Two major New Zealand Upgrade Programme projects are beginning tenders for construction. The New Zealand Upgrade Programme is a $6.8 billion investment to get our cities moving, to save lives and boost productivity in growth areas. The first Auckland ... More>>

Reserve Bank: RBNZ Seeks To Preserve Benefits Of Cash

The Reserve Bank – Te Pūtea Matua is taking on a new role of steward of the cash system “to preserve the benefits of cash for all who need them”, Assistant Governor Christian Hawkesby told the Royal Numismatics Society of New Zealand annual conference ... More>>


Economy: Double-Dip Recession Next Year, But Housing Rolls On

New Zealand's economy is expected to slip back into recession early next year as delayed job losses, falling consumer spending, and the absence of international tourists bites into growth. More>>


Microsoft New Zealand: Microsoft Expands “Highway To A Hundred Unicorns” Initiative To Support Startups In Asia Pacific

New Zealand, 14 October 2020 – Today Microsoft for Startups launches the Highway to a Hundred Unicorns initiative in Asia Pacific to strengthen the region’s startup ecosystem. This follows the initiative’s success in India, where 56 startups were ... More>>

Fonterra: Farmers Taking Another Step Towards New Zealand’s Low Emissions Food Production

They’re hot off the press and intended to help take the heat out of climate change. Fonterra farmers are already among the world’s most sustainable producers of milk and now have an additional tool in their sustainability toolbox. Over the last few ... More>>


Courts: Businessman Eric Watson Sentenced To A Four-Month Jail Term

New Zealand businessman Eric Watson has been sentenced to a four-month jail term in the UK for contempt of court, TVNZ reports. More>>

OECD: Area Employment Rate Falls By 4.0 Percentage Points, To 64.6% In Second Quarter Of 2020

The OECD area employment rate – the share of the working-age population with jobs – fell by 4.0 percentage points, to 64.6%, in the second quarter of 2020, its lowest level since the fourth quarter of 2010. Across the OECD area, 560 million persons ... More>>

Spark: Turns On 5G In Auckland And Offers A Glimpse Into The Future Of Smart Cities

Spark turned on 5G in downtown Auckland today and has partnered with Auckland Transport (AT) to showcase some of the latest in IoT (Internet of Things) technology and demonstrate what the future could look like for Auckland’s CBD with the power of 5G. 5G is ... More>>

Stats NZ: Monthly Migration Remains Low

Since the border closed in late-March 2020, net migration has averaged about 300 a month, Stats NZ said today. In the five months from April to August 2020, overall net migration was provisionally estimated at 1,700. This was made up of a net gain ... More>>

University of Canterbury: Proglacial Lakes Are Accelerating Glacier Ice Loss

Lake Tasman, New Zealand | 2016 | Photo: Dr Jenna Sutherland Meltwater lakes that form at glacier margins cause ice to recede much further and faster compared to glaciers that terminate on land, according to a new study. But the effects of these glacial ... More>>


Dairy: Fonterra Sells China Farms

Fonterra has agreed to sell its China farms for a total of $555 million (RMB 2.5 billion*1), after successfully developing the farms alongside local partners. Inner Mongolia Natural Dairy Co., Ltd, a subsidiary of China Youran Dairy Group Limited ... More>>