This week I had a really enjoyable coffee session with a Chartered Accountant discussing our study of the CDHB and what needs to be challenged. It was a real pleasure to spend time with a man who has had considerable experience with medical finance as a professional, but who also combined his professional training to apply great insights into what makes our society function.
One item we discussed was a lecture he attended, as a student, by the then Professor of Economics at Otago University, Professor Williams. In his lecture Prof Williams said every issue should have the following three questions applied to it before arriving at a solution. The questions are:
- Who says so…i.e. what are their qualifications to make the statement which they are making?
- How do they know… i.e. what research supports their statement, or what is being considered?
- So what?
I really like this framework. Especially the last one. It’s so seldom asked. How often have we bowed down in a debate on an issue because we have been told by experts that they know the truth and the facts, and that we should accept their argument. How often has a bully dominated a debate, or a Board, and how much better would the debate have been if the three questions above were applied during deliberations. Especially, its worth considering how seldom is the question “so what” applied during deliberations on matters being debated.
If we had applied this framework to fundamental issues like the chlorination of our water system, or the CDHB debacle, we might have ended up in a very different place right now.
I mourn over what we have witnessed over the last painful few months with the CDHB. A world class team achieving heaps, with a long way to go. If we had applied the above test, the reasons for this team being pulled apart would probably fail. People are now emailing me and ringing me with stories of what is happening behind the scenes right now. Sooner or later it will become obvious to the people of this region that a disastrous end game is in the early creation phase.
I constantly ask myself has the Chair of the CDHB chaired any organisation the size and complexity of this before?
When the Prime Minister takes part in the Press debate next month, unless the Board is sacked before then, I would be surprised if she will have any convincing answers for the people of this province. We have a disaster in the making and it has been entirely created by this Government appointing the wrong people to the Board and sending in the wrong Crown Advisor. I was sent some questions for the debate from some senior Doctors last week, which I have sent on to the Editor who will be conducting the debate.
When I think about the Prof Williams test above, I would like to apply it to the increasingly centralised power of the Central Government bureaucracies which seem to be flowering in Wellington. Our City, and Island, appears to be being ignored by the Central Government politicians and their masters, the Wellington bureaucracy. It really is time for us to organise our act.
The attention of the Central Government political scene is dominated by Auckland and its surrounding towns and cities. The South Island has become a forgotten cousin. “They had an earthquake down there,” they say, “but we looked after them.” They count what was paid out; but not what extra tax they earned as a result of tens of billions being spent on the rebuild.The Wellington-think says “we won’t need to put any extra into that region for a while, as they have had their share.”
I was told, by a current politician, that Phil Twyford said he has not put significant roading money into Christchurch and Canterbury, because nobody has made the case. So, he’ll spend it elsewhere probably mostly around Auckland, where the votes are, and Wellington where most politicians spend their lives.
It really is time for us to get our act together as a City; as a Province; as an Island. Let’s just plan for what we want to be. Let’s start from the streets up. Not the politicians down.
Over the next few months at the Tuesday Club we are going to keep an eye on what is happening at the CDHB, and other topics, and think if this is the way we are treated by Wellington bureaucracies, and their servants the politicians, then let us discuss what we want for our people, our lifestyle, our economy, and our place in the world. We need to enunciate our dreams and aspiration. Let us set our own direction and go on the journey together. You watch. When they are ignored, politicians come running. Especially if their jobs are at risk.
It was interesting to read this week that a proposal to engage a “people committee” failed at CCC. I’m not sure whether it was badly thought through, or whether it was sold wrong, or whether it was a personal vote against the proponents, but we need to ensure that the structures at CCC are always in listening mode. Maybe this idea was not what is needed but it’s essential that we have as many avenues of information as is possible feeding into CCC.
I just look at what happened when Phil Mauger got his digger out to address an issue which had been ignored by the bureaucracy for years and which had pissed off those in the Eastern suburbs.
It should not have taken this to achieve a solution. The institution got caught not listening.