$1200 farewell gift for Rousseau

Brian Rousseau
Brian Rousseau
Departing Southern District Health Board chief Brian Rousseau was presented with a $1200 watercolour painting as a gift at a farewell dinner in Queenstown last week.

At the Thursday night dinner at the Copthorne Hotel, DHB members and executive staff tucked into an $893 buffet meal.

Southern DHB funding and finance general manager Robert Mackway-Jones pointed out the district health board contingent, in Queenstown for meetings, would have been able to claim for a meal anyway.

"The DHB would have paid for a meal for board members and [executives] staying over in Queenstown ... the meal they were entitled to under the fees framework was turned into a farewell dinner for Brian, so there was no extra cost to the DHB from that normally incurred for a board meeting away from Invercargill or Dunedin."

The DHB was yet to be billed for the evening, and it was unclear how much alcohol had been charged to it.

DHB chairman Joe Butterfield said when contacted he thought $1200 for the gift reasonable.

Mr Rousseau, with a yearly salary of between $490,000 and $500,000, had held the top job for more than eight years.

"I don't have to justify it, I considered that it was OK. We made a decision to give him a gift, and that's what it cost," Mr Butterfield said.

Mr Rousseau leaves the DHB at the end of next week.

The painting was Autumn Leaves by Jo Byrne.



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