Cull up for 'daunting' SDHB challenge

Dave Cull
Dave Cull
Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull's retirement plans have proven short-lived, after his confirmation yesterday he would run for a place on the Southern District Health Board in October's local body elections.

Three months after announcing he was stepping down from the mayoralty and that it was time to reduce his work demands, Mr Cull has made a surprise change of tack and signed up for another political campaign.

"I've learned quite a lot in the past few years, and while I don't want another full-time job, I think I have experience that I can contribute back,'' he said.

In 2015, then-health minister Jonathan Coleman fired the SDHB after it forecast a final deficit of $27million for the financial year, a figure which had doubled in the previous six months and which was forecast to hit $42million.

A commissioner team has run the SDHB since then. The most recent DHB financial reports showed the SDHB has a $40million deficit.

The commissioners are scheduled to hand over to a newly elected board after October's local body elections.

"The SDHB has a number of daunting challenges and they are not all financial,'' Mr Cull said.

"I am under no illusions. This will not be a walk in the park.''

Mr Cull (69) is also president of Local Government New Zealand and chairman of the Cosy Homes Trust.

"I think we are at a critical stage of healthcare in this city,'' he said.

"We are about to get a new hospital and we are coming out of the period where we have been run by commissioners, so it is going to be critical that models of care are optimised.''

Nominations for local body elections close on Friday.

Mr Cull was not the only person to put their name forward for the SDHB election yesterday.

Ilka Beekhuis (Otago) and Benje Patterson (Southland) have joined the now 17-strong field for seven elected positions.



He is following the money (ie feathering his pockets with both the pension and a wage) he realizes that he wont have as much scrutiny being on the SDHB as he did being mayor.

Good luck, Dave! The systemic conflicts of interest in that place will carry over to the new hospital. Hard to think of any other occupation where employees are allowed to run private companies which also compete for the same user base. The same employees have the ability to restrict supply creating waiting lists and hence give patients incentives to be treated in their private clinics.

I can't wait for the announcement that doctors and nurses will be assigned bikes and will be cycling through the wards. Great results: faster response, fitter staff and not that many collisions between patients and bikes.