The Government spin continues to unravel. Stuff reports:
Mark Darrow is a professional director, chartered accountant and Justice of the Peace who sits on numerous boards, including the New Zealand Transport Agency, and who lived in the Counties Manukau area for nearly 30 years.
He leaves the board with a “heavy heart” and says he has had absolutely no explanation for why he’s been removed.
The story begins in December 2016 when four ministerial appointments were made under the then-National government. They were Darrow, Rabin Rabindran, Lester Levy and George Ngatai.
Levy has already left, Ngatai is staying on, but for Rabindran and Darrow their time on the board has ended without warning – simply a letter from Health Minister David Clark saying they’re being removed.
Earlier this month Rabindran, who is the acting chair, and Darrow received a letter from Clark saying their position on the board was being reconsidered and they had until April 12 to make a case for why they should keep their jobs.
Rabindran, fed up with how things had been handled, chose to respond by saying he didn’t want to continue on the board regardless of Clark’s final decision.
Darrow, however, responded several times through until late on April 11 with documents outlining how the Board had dealt with various issues over the last year.
But by 7.39am on April 13 Darrow had a response from Clark – his time was up and his last day on the board would be May 2.
Twelve days later however, and Clark is still telling media that the process around Rabindran and Darrow’s future is still underway despite them already having their termination letters.
So is this just an excuse to appoint some new Directors? The shareholder can of course sack directors at any time, but to do so without giving any reason for doing so is very suspicious.
Darrow said he has given Clark three chances to meet with him but had been declined or not given the courtesy of an answer on every occasion.
To this day he’s never met Clark, never spoken to him or received any correspondence from him other than a final notice letter and then his removal letter, he said.
Not exactly good faith.
“He never rang me, never raised any issues and he won’t meet with me. In the letters he’s never even said what, if any, his concerns are – no one, not him, his office or anyone in the Ministry of Health, has ever outlined to me any issue at all with my or the Board’s performance.”
Which suggests an existing agenda.
Suggestions sewage was running down the walls are “a complete beat up” and while there was a leak, it was in 2013/14 and was fixed, Darrow said.
There is one type of PVC pipe in one building that remains a risk but the “contract for repair has been signed and work is imminent”.
So for weeks the Government said this was symbolic of the public health system, which in fact it is only symbolic of their spin.
Earlier this month Stuff revealed the DHB acting chief executive Gloria Johnson was at odds with Clark over what he was told about the state of Middlemore Hospital’s problems when he visited on March 13.
She says Clark was specifically told there were “similar problems in multiple buildings”, which Clark denies. He says there was “no mention of any other urgent works” other than the Scott Building.
Clark and his adviser were both given dossiers of information that day that included the full remediation plan and costings but Clark says only the Scott Building was drawn to his attention.
Another Minister who doesn’t read his papers it seems.
Darrow wasn’t there the day of the visit but says he’s received emails and has spoken to other people who were there who say Johnson’s account of what happened was “accurate and consistent”.
He says Clark’s office contacted DHB asking for another copy of the information that was provided at that visit on the same day Stuff asked questions about it.
So did the Minister just throw it away?