A DHB with money to burn

DHBs are constantly saying they don’t have enough money. And it is true that there is always unmet demand in Health. But perhaps we should focus on the amount of money they waste on areas with minimal health benefits.

Have a read of this High Court case, and get angry at the huge waste of taxpayer money.

Dannevirke New World applied to renew its liquor licence.  The Sale and Supply of Act specifies that all alcohol has to be together in an alcohol area. The idea is that you have to specifically go into the alcohol area to purchase alcohol, rather than just pass it while buying other stuff.

Now the local Medical Officer of Health (employed by the DHB) objected to the alcohol licence on the grounds that the shelves on which the alcohol was stocked was not at right angles to the wall, but at an angle.

No that is not a mistake. They objected based on the angle of the shelves. I guess their rationale is someone might feel compelled to buy alcohol because they glanced it more easily due to the shelf angle.

The objection was filed with the District Licensing Committee. There was no other objection. Not the Police, not the  licensing inspector, not a single member of the public. Just the District Health Board.

The DLC sensibly said the angle of the shelves made “little or no difference” to the exposure of shoppers.

Bad enough the DHB did an initial objection. But they then appealed the decision of the DLC to the Alcohol Regulatory and Licensing Authority. This is a quasi-judicial body and the costs involved can be significant, let alone time.

The ARLA dismissed the appeal entirely saying the argument of the DHB “strained” the meaning of the Act.

Having lost twice, the DHB appealed again to the High Court. All over the angle of shelves in a supermarket. Nurses are crying our for a pay rise, and this DHB is spending time and money on trying to dictate that the shelves must be at a right angle to the wall.

The High Court also dismissed the appeal. So that is three times the DHB acted and lost – all over the angle of supermarket shelves. An issue on which the health benefits, if any, must be miniscule.

People should be angry over this. It is our taxpayer dollars being spent on this misguided activism. To not just object, but appeal twice, on the issue of the angle of shelves in a supermarket is just nuts.

Someone should OIA MidCentral DHB on how much money they have wasted on this stupidity and have to deducted from their allocation for next year. They obviously don’t need it.

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