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More than 1000 seek election to Health Boards

27 August 2001 Media Statement

More than 1000 seek election to District Health Boards

Health Minister Annette King says even she is overwhelmed by the huge number of candidates for the first District Health Board elections.

"Checking of numbers is still going on, but the last count I have received gives the total number of candidates at 1033. That works out at an average of about 50 candidates for the seven elected positions on each of the 21 boards.

"I knew there would be a strong response, but this is far stronger than even I imagined it would be. It proves just how badly the former National Government misjudged public opinion when it stripped democracy from the former area health boards in the early 1990s.

"National's current health spokesperson clearly has scant respect for democratic representation either. In the past two weeks Roger Sowry has been going round the country actively trying to dissuade people from standing. He predicted people wouldn't stand for various reasons, but he must be terribly embarrassed now. He certainly deserves to be."

Mrs King said people would be standing for the DHBs for a wide range of reasons. "It is especially pleasing that close to 50 of the candidates are existing DHB members who want to carry on, and who are seeking a democratic mandate. I urge voters to look for candidates who have a broad interest in health issues, ranging from primary health through to hospital care.

"It is far too early to comment in more than very general terms on the overall calibre of candidates, but there are some outstanding names there.

"I note with quite some interest that one candidate in Waitemata is former National Health Minister George Gair. I have a great deal of respect for George, and it is quite clear he has a lot more respect for the concept of democratic health boards than National's current health spokesman."

ENDS

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