Health board's final member still mystery

Joe Butterfield
Joe Butterfield
It is still unclear when the final ministerial appointee to the next Southern District Health Board will be announced.

Board members throughout the country will gather in Wellington on Wednesday for an induction day, but it is not expected the appointment will have been made by then.

The new board, to be chaired by Timaru accountant Joe Butterfield, officially takes office on December 6, but the first meeting of the new board will be held in Dunedin on December 16.

In response to questions about the final appointment, Health Minister Tony Ryall's office advised it was normal not to have all appointees in office on the first day of the new term.

There was only the Southern vacancy and one other one at the Waikato board, caused by the resignation of a re-elected member.

Only two of the 10 confirmed board members, Richard Thomson (elected) and Tahu Potiki (appointed) live in the Dunedin area.

The Minister's office said geographic representation would be among the issues considered by Mr Ryall when making the fourth appointment.

The broad array of geographic locations stood the board in good stead for considering health issues across the region, the office said.

Asked if there had been any feedback following the announcement of Mr Butterfield's appointment this week, Mr Ryall's spokesman said he was not aware of any.

Mr Ryall had gathered feedback during the selection process.

Asked about the financial rationale of appointing from outside the district, the spokesman said the benefits of Mr Butterfield's experience outweighed the potential extra costs involved with him living out of the area, pointing out he was closer to Dunedin than Invercargill members were.

To the question of whether there were no Southland or Otago candidates capable of doing the chairman's job, the spokesman said there were a number of people capable of chairing a board in any district.

"Mr Butterfield's experience and ability to bring fresh ideas and perspectives to Southern DHB's problems made him the ideal candidate for the role."

Responding to questions about the expectations of the board's crown monitor, Dunedin accountant Stuart McLauchlan, who has been reappointed, Mr Ryall's office said good progress had been made during his time on the board.

"His skills have been put to good use in ensuring the board begins to address its financial problems, and that the organisation quickly adapts to its new role following the merger."

Mr McLauchlan had been the Southland board's crown monitor before the Otago and Southland boards merged in May.

He continued in that role on the new board.

The board's district annual plan with its expected $14.9 million deficit was approved earlier this month by Mr Ryall, but he has made it clear he wants the board to make better progress on breaking even in future years.

Add a Comment



Our journalists are your neighbours

We are the South's eyes and ears in crucial council meetings, at court hearings, on the sidelines of sporting events and on the frontline of breaking news.

As our region faces uncharted waters in the wake of a global pandemic, Otago Daily Times continues to bring you local stories that matter.

We employ local journalists and photographers to tell your stories, as other outlets cut local coverage in favour of stories told out of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

You can help us continue to bring you local news you can trust by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter