Trust will lobby to keep pool

Joe Butterfield.
Joe Butterfield.
In a bid to stop the closure of Dunedin's physio pool, the trust that runs the facility will appeal to Southern District Health Board members in Dunedin tomorrow.

An Otago Therapeutic Pool Trust deputation will ask the board to overrule management and keep the pool open.

The meeting, at Wakari Hospital, starts at 9am and is open to the public.

In his submission, secretary-treasurer Neville Martin will tell members the health board should work with the trust and Dunedin City Council to resolve the financial issues.

''This would involve both parties [the DHB and pool trust] attempting to agree on cost sharing, tenure and responsibility for upgrading facilities,'' Mr Martin said.

''This would allow the trust sufficient comfort to reassure the public that the facility will continue to be available to them.''

The $100,000 annual shortfall and the up to $1 million required upgrade should be considered as separate issues, the trust argues.

Fundraising for the upgrade was more likely to succeed if the health board gave an assurance it would keep the pool open.

The health board had its own physio patients to consider, and providing alternative therapy for them would also cost money, the trust argues.

Dunedin does not have another therapeutic pool, and Moana Pool has no space to develop one, the trust says.

Health board chairman Joe Butterfield, of Timaru, reiterated yesterday that the board ''simply cannot afford to continue running it''.

''It is not a facility that we need to look after our patients or clients,'' Mr Butterfield said.

''We can make alternative arrangements for those that are there. It's costing us a significant amount of money that we cannot afford.

''If the public of Dunedin want it to continue, the public of Dunedin will have to find a way of funding its continuance.''

Asked if the trust was wasting its time making a submission, he said: ''Only time will tell.

''You'll have to wait and see what happens on Thursday.''

Mr Martin's submission has been supplied to board members ahead of the meeting, and is available on the health board's website.

Board management has said the historic pool is ''well beyond its economic life'' and will close in December.


The numbers

Pool costs include. -

Steam                                     $86,000

Electricity                                $17,000

Cleaning                                 $20,000

Qualified lifeguards                 $65,000

Source: Otago Therapeutic Pool Trust

Vote for someone else

Hype: So long as Woodhouse claims to represent us but actually does nothing we should treat his behaviour with the contempt it deserves by not voting for him or his party. As you point out his party compares more about Auckland than the rest of the country, fair enough, Auckland can have it's party, but if we want central government to pay attention to us  then the rest of us need to vote for other parties to represent us.

National vote in Dunedin

"Hype" should check his facts. Far from receiving a tiny number of votes from Dunedin, in the 2011 election, National received 23870 party votes to Labour's 22453 in the two Dunedin seats. Hardly a tiny number.

Stop demanding help from Woodhouse

"Can the trust rely on any support from our government list MP Mr Woodhouse?"  writes marious. "Mr Woodhouse has election posters all over Dunedin - he wants our votes."  

This is a misapprehension.  Mr Woodhouse knows he - the National party - will receive a tiny number of votes from Dunedin.  As a list MP he depends on the number of votes National gets from all over NZ, so since Auckland has the greatest population one might say that he owes more loyalty to that city than to Dunedin!  Most of all he owes his loyalty to his leader and to the party as a whole, not to voters.  It is not the voters who decide how high he is placed on the list.  And it is his position on the list that determines his probability of returning to parliament.  The more he pleases his seniors in National the more certain is his career as a politician.  

We should give up any expectation that we can expect him to show particular interest in or loyalty to Dunedin.  The list system does not work that way.  A list MP has to know on which side his bread is buttered.  Mr Woodhouse's absence from sight plus the signs that he is well-regarded by his seniors in the party indicate that he is doing his job well and can look forward to a long career as a politician.  He does not need the affection, or even the respect, of voters.  Local concerns are of no concern to list MPs.

Political support for physio pool

Can the trust rely on any support from our government list MP Mr Woodhouse?

Mr Woodhouse has election posters all over Dunedin - he wants our votes. But he also appears to support ongoing cuts to Dunedin's health service which include the closure of the physio pool.

With an election just around the corner Mr Woodhouse, many voters would like to know just what your position as a government MP is on current health cuts for Dunedin? 



Short time frame

A more cynical person than myself and think the short time frame was designed to limit public participation.  Unfortunately I didn't hear about the meeting until too late, but it generated a thought. And that is the movement to save the pool will have a few hurdles to jump that other petitions don't due to they very nature of it's participants.

A lot of us are not independently capable of travel and would need time to arrange transport to meetings and quite a few would not be able to get to them in any case. A large number of affected people are older and statistically less likely to have internet and even fewer will have things facebook which are used more and more to garner support.

As well as the physical limitations to getting around, there are the financial ones imposed by being on a benefit with a capped disability allowance ($69 pw including doctors visits, medicine, physio etc and transport).  know several people who can't afford to go to as many physio sessions as they would like let alone meetings.

As for the costs savings are they real numbers ie isn't the water heated as a by product running the hospital boiler. And even if they are real, what is the DHB going to spend the money on that will directly benefit as many people as much? In a budget of over $600m this amount of money doesn't go far.

Joe Butterfield's remarks

''It is not a facility that we need to look after our patients or clients,'' Mr Butterfield said.

''We can make alternative arrangements for those that are there. It's costing us a significant amount of money that we cannot afford."

Presumably these alternate arrangements will cost the health board nothing because clients/patients currently using the physio pool will be referred to a non-existent alternative facility. 

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