David Fisher puts his investigative skills to good use in the latest issue of The Listener. The article will not be online for a week or so, so I really recommend people interested buy a copy. Some key points I noted:
- The e-mail between Hausmann and CEO Chris Clarke in January 2006, discussing details of the contract Hausmann was tendering for, was only accessed by Board Administrator Deborah Houston as she was filling in for his PA. Hence there may have been many more e-mails like that.
- King’s appointment of Peter Hausmann was at whim, and while legal (she can appoint anyone she wants) failed to follow best practice by having the potential appointee go before an interview panel.
- The Cabinet Appointments and Honours Committee staff alerted King’s office to the extent of Hausmann’s conflicts of interest
- A senior Ministry of Health staffer wrote a letter describing Hausmann’s appointment as posing a “huge risk”.
- Peter Hausmann asked for an inquiry not just into his own actions, but for a full review of the Board’s performance and governance. The Ministry of Health advised there was no need for this, and that it should be into Hausmann’s conflicts only as they believe “these are prima facie serious matters”.
- Pete Hodgson ignored the Ministry advice, and by making the review so much wider, meant the review took much much longer to complete, which in itself led to greater dysfunction.
- Ray Lind recorded several conversations with staff and board members, without telling them at the time.
- These secret recordings were only discovered when PWC audited the e-mail system and found Lind had e-mailed himself a copy – the e-mail had been deleted but was on the backup tape.
- Hausmann had access to the RFP months before his ten competitors did, and at least one of them complained about the lack of time to respond when it went public
- The e-mails to and from Hausmann regarding the RFP were deleted from the DHB’s e-mail system. This is arguably illegal under the Official Information Act.
- The only backup tape which had the e-mails was May 2005, and of the 12 backup tapes given to PWC, it was the only one damaged.
- DHB Management were severely criticised by the Audit Office for another (Wellcare Education) contract they gave to Hausmann’s company.
- An e-mail from Hausmann, after he was appointed to the Board, was sent to a senior manager extensively advocated on behalf of Wellcare Education, which Hausmann’s company’s owned.
The failings of both King and Hodgson, but also Lind and Clarke seem numerous. Deleted e-mails, official advice ignored, preferential treatment, secret recordings, appointments without interviews, to name a few.
What Annette King has yet to answer is why she appointed Hausmann? She says she just met him and as impressed with him. But why did she ffail to follow best practice? She says she was not legally obliged to do so. Fine, we know that. But the question is why did she not have an interview panel as normal?
And has Pete Hodgson explained why he ignored the advice from Ministry officials who had no political interest in the outcome? Did he talk to King before making that decision? Did he talk to Hausmann, Clarke or Ray Lind?
And why did DHB management not once, but twice, fall over themselves to give preferential treatment to Hausmann?Tags: Annette King, David Fisher, Deborah Houston, Hawke's Bay DHB, Health, Pete Hodgson, Peter Hausmann, Ray Lind, The Listener