This week I witnessed the best produced cv I have ever seen. This was the public cv of David Meates. He doesn’t need to write anything about his career for any future job application. He just needs to produce a photo of the guard of honour which was informally organised for him as he left for his farewell gathering. A group of us from the Tuesday Club were there. We’re not fair-weather friends. As he passed all you could feel was empathy for him. Have a look at his face in the photo below. If ever you witnessed somebody who wanted to disappear through the ground this is it. This isn’t a man driven by an oversized ego:
What has puzzled me is that David Meates printed his analysis of the state of CDHB’s finances in his final days as CE. The public response from the Minister was that they do not line up with his advice. Where were our local Labour MP’s? Their silence has been disturbing. Remember their loud support for CDHB when they wanted to get at the National Party? What they weren’t going to do wasn’t worth talking about.
This week? Nothing. What caused them to shut up? Aren’t they worried about the impact of this disaster on their values? Is it easier to make a Press release about the Catholic Cathedral being pulled down than facing the music over the Government completely dropping the ball over CDHB?
I would never say that any bureaucracy has got everything right. The CDHB will be no exception. However, the problem with Canterbury has been that we down here have been treated as BAU by Wellington when we have experienced major disasters which should have received special attention and resources. This has caused many of the services of CDHB to be stretched beyond breaking point, especially in mental health.
Having never voted for anybody but Labour I am filled with despair. The Labour Party ad is on our front fence. We have donated to the campaign. I shouldn’t feel this way so close to an election. I should be feeling positive. However, I’m despairing.
How can we get Labour Party principles on display at the CDHB? Should we assume that the Labour Party isn’t really into any reforms which might risk being unacceptable to any of the Wellington bureaucracies. That we are essentially being led by technocrats in Government who are pawns of their Departments? That standing alongside magnificent performers who epitomise what any Left politician would be proud to defend is too risky these days.
This cartoon summarises my despair toward the Labour Party over CDHB:
It was interesting to hear this week from Ta Mark Solomon and his briefing when he became the Chair of CDHB, from the MOH when National were in power. https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/122663678/sir-mark-solomon-says-he-was-told-to-get-rid-of-david-meates.
What’s changed? Is the health portfolio the residing place for weak Ministers who do what their Ministry tell them? I thought when David Clark slipped off his perch that we might have somebody with some brains who would attempt to find a solution. No such luck It’s got worse. When the majority of the executive resigned at CDHB the Minister didn’t even come down here to face the local music. He sent the man in charge of the Ministry which was a fundamental part of the battle. I guess he then silenced the local MP’s. I would have respected those who challenged him publicly. Do careers in politics thrive when people prove that they can be kneaded into thinking in an acceptable manner? Is there no longer a place for free thinkers in politics?
This week my chooks started laying eggs again, just as the daffodils have started coming out in the centre of the City. At the CDHB their chickens also came home to roost. Remember being told that the budget cuts would not impact on service levels. Here’s what the Chair of CDHB said in a statement released recently:
The Board is concerned with the size of Canterbury’s deficit and has not made any final decisions on how to reduce the deficit.
Recommendations from the management team will be considered at the next Board meeting.
The Board is determined not to reduce services.
Then there was the later statement sent out to all staff which read:
At this time, the Board has made no decisions on further deficit reduction programmes. However, I want to assure you that cutting services will not form part of the Board’s deficit reduction strategy. As we move forward you will be kept updated with plans.
In an interview to the Press the Board chair said:
That the Board was determined to reduce the deficit without cutting services, and accepts it will be challenging.
Well that lasted a shorter time than even I expected. This week we were told that there is not enough money to staff the children’s unit in the new hospital building. Here’s the article which told us of the first of what will probably be many to follow:
I might be a simple fellow but I will put it on record that I reckon that it will be impossible to reduce the budgets to the level being promoted by Lester Levy, and not have a massive reduction in services.
Here’s the video stream of David Meates farewell. There were no Board members at this function.