Legal advice supports the claim Presbyterian Support Otago
(PSO) was dumped as a home-based support provider using a
flawed process, PSO board chairman Frazer Barton says.
Yesterday, PSO wrote to Southern District Health Board
requesting a meeting with board members, on the basis of the
legal advice, to argue its case.
Meanwhile, members of the public are invited to join PSO
staff tomorrow in a rally at 12.30pm, beginning at the Moray
Pl PSO base. The group planned to march on the footpath to
the Octagon to gather signatures for a petition calling for
the board to reconsider. The petition, launched last week,
had gathered more than 1000 signatures yesterday. Mr Barton
said the legal opinion, from Dr Royden Somerville QC,
identified flaws in the board's process. He could not give
PSO had so far been unable to secure a meeting with board
members, but had met management, he said. If it needed to,
PSO would take the board to court, but Mr Barton hoped it
would not reach that point.
PSO wanted to partner with Disabilities Resource Centre
Southland for a redesigned home-based support service for
older people in Otago and Southland.
Contacted yesterday, health board deputy chairman Paul
Menzies said he was open to the idea of a meeting, but he
emphasised he could not speak on behalf of chairman Joe
Butterfield, who could not be contacted.
When contacted on Monday, Mr Menzies warned the board was not
funded to be a ''social agency'', and made decisions as a
''Unfortunately, we are in a business ... and we are not,
regrettably, funded to be a social agency.''
Cost and financial sustainability were factors in the
home-based service decision, which followed an ''exhaustive''
process to determine the most able providers for the new
''We can't create jobs for people, regrettably, like the
railways used to do, and employ some people who are now
unemployable. We can't do that. That's no secret that that's
''We can't expend money in an effort to support businesses
that maybe aren't working as efficiently as they could be.
Now, I don't know if that is the case or not, but certainly
we're not in a position to do that,'' Mr Menzies said.
PSO chief executive Gillian Bremner said she was ''baffled''
by the inference she gleaned from Mr Menzies' comments, as
PSO would have carried out the contract within available
Brief feedback received from board management on the
unsuccessful application made no mention of pricing, Mrs
Caregivers and Related Employees staff advocate Mike Hanifin
said the public were welcome to join staff on their rally if
they wished to show support. He was struck by how many people
were approaching him in the community to voice their feelings
about the unfairness of the decision.
One of the three chosen providers for the new service, Royal
District Nursing Service New Zealand, has not previously
provided services outside Auckland. Its Australian parent
organisation's 2012 annual report says plans for expanding
its New Zealand operation are progressing well.