Dunedin Hospital emergency department specialist Dr John
Chambers with his wife Susanne at home yesterday with their
pet alpacas Izzy and Gus. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.
A Dunedin Hospital emergency department specialist and a
former midwife are the new faces on the Southern District
Dr John Chambers, of Dunedin, and Mary Gamble, of Central
Otago, were elected in the Otago constituency, alongside
returning members Dr Branko Sijnja, of Dunedin, and Richard
Thomson, of Dunedin.
Mr Thomson polled highest, followed by Dr Chambers. Mary
Flannery polled fifth highest and missed out on re-election.
Tim Ward, in Invercargill, is a new elected member in the
Southland constituency, but is already on the board through
ministerial appointment. He fills the elected spot vacated by
retiring deputy chairman Paul Menzies. Returning with Mr Ward
in Southland were Kaye Crowther and Neville Cook.
When contacted yesterday, Dr Chambers hoped to encourage more
transparency and openness at board level.
He would push for faster investment in hospital facilities.
Dr Chambers (57) grew up in Glasgow and moved to Dunedin 20
years ago, becoming a citizen recently in order to stand for
His outspokenness last year over staffing levels prompted a
failed attempt by board management to discipline him, but
yesterday he was diplomatic, saying he had a good
relationship with his fellow Scot, board chief executive
He also admired the achievements of Health Minister Tony
Ryall. Mr Thomson, of Dunedin, was pleased to be re-elected,
and would focus on retaining essential services in the South
during a time of financial constraint.
Work had started to better integrate hospital and GP-level
care, and that was a long-term project, he said.
Former midwife Mrs Gamble served on the old Otago District
Health Board for two terms before returning to her home
country of Ireland for a few years.
She returned to New Zealand in 2011, and as the third-highest
polling Otago candidate was pleased and surprised with her
support. She would push for stronger links between Dunedin
Hospital and the medical school, and for shorter waiting
times for some elective surgery procedures.
Mrs Flannery said yesterday she was disappointed to have
missed out on re-election, but accepted the outcome. Mr Ryall
will appoint a further four board members in due course.