Cunliffe gets into bother with butt covering of King

New Zealand Parliament – 8. Hawke’s Bay District Health Board?Ministerial Intervention

Health Minister David Cunliffe is getting a reputation as a meddling minister. Now he is meddling with some sort of vendetta against the people and the Health Board of Hawkes Bay. He has threatened to dismiss the recently publicly elected board for no other reason than because they stick it to him. There can be no other reason as you will see from these Q&A’s in parliament yesterday.

Craig Foss: How can the Minister cite last month?s letter from the Auditor-General to the Hawke?s Bay District Health Board as a reason, when in that letter the Auditor-General does not give a poor grading to the Hawke?s Bay District Health Board for any measure and does not recommend any major improvements that need urgent attention for any aspects, and when that same letter reminds the Minister that the Hawke?s Bay District Health Board received an unqualified audit opinion for its 2006-07 accounts?

Hon DAVID CUNLIFFE: Given that in every category that was reviewed in the audit in question the Hawke?s Bay District Health Board received the rating ?needs improvement?, I ask what part of the member?s early education he can now not remember?

Darien Fenton: Can the Minister elaborate on his concerns about tensions between clinicians in the Hawke?s Bay District Health Board?

Hon DAVID CUNLIFFE: I do not need to do so when a number of clinicians have been on Radio New Zealand National this morning outlining their concerns for themselves.

Chris Tremain: Why is the Minister ignoring an unprecedented letter in support of the board from the five Hawke?s Bay mayors who represent over 150,000 citizens, ignoring the many senior doctors who have come forward to support the board, and ignoring the Hawke?s Bay voters who elected the board just 4 short months ago; and why is it a case of the Minister versus Hawke?s Bay?

Hon DAVID CUNLIFFE: First, because I care more about the health care standards of the people of Hawke?s Bay than I do about local politics. Second, because I have heard the many voices of senior clinicians and others who are saying all is not well in the state of the Hawke?s Bay District Health Board.

Chris Tremain: How can the Minister cite the deteriorating deficit at the Hawke?s Bay District Health Board as a reason to dismiss the entire board, when its members were elected by the people of Hawke?s Bay only 4 short months ago, when most other district health boards are facing deficits, and when he did not sack the Capital and Coast District Health Board, which is facing a far more serious deficit?

Hon DAVID CUNLIFFE: Firstly, I repeat to the House that no decision has been made and that I have given the board a week to justify its position. Secondly, the position with the Capital and Coast District Health Board is not analogous. The issues there were at the clinical and management level. The issues here are quite squarely, it would appear, at the governance level, and that is what will be sorted out.

Hon Tony Ryall: Could the Minister explain why, when Capital and Coast District Health Board was facing a huge deficit, severe clinical criticism, and an audit report that said it needed improvement in every category?and without any public support?he decided to keep it, but when it comes to a district health board enjoying the wide support of its own community and clinicians, he wants to give that one the chop?

As you can see the policy hypocrisy of Cunliffe over the HBDHB is astounding. He has far worse problems right there in Wellington but has not threatened their board. The only point of difference is Labour’s absolute pathological attempt to cover Annette King’s rather large and exposed derriere that is swinging in the wind just waiting to be kicked.

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