Thursday, December 21, 2023

David Farrar: An unusual crown observer appointment

Shane Reti announced:

health Minister Dr Shane Reti is appointing a Crown observer to Health New Zealand – Te Whatu Ora, citing significant ongoing challenges around the 2022 health reforms.

“I have carefully considered the hard work which has gone on around Health NZ since its establishment,” Dr Reti said.
“The incoming government is resetting a clear focus on health outcomes. The Labour government failed to acknowledge a health crisis and failed in its duty to provide adequate oversight and support during a period of massive upheaval for health.

“I am confident that the appointment of a Crown observer will assist the HNZ Board and management to work with the board to overcome a range of issues, including health workforce and hospital wait times.

“I am therefore appointing Ken Whelan as Crown observer to work with the Board to ensure it delivers the outcomes expected by the coalition government.

“Mr Whelan commences his role immediately, and will independently advise me through formal quarterly reporting, and other updates as necessary.

“He has more than 30 years of health care leadership experience and has previously served as a Crown monitor at Counties Manukau and Waikato DHBs.

The appointment of Mr Whelan looks very good – someone with huge experience.

But it is still unusual.

I may be wrong, but I can't recall a crown observer being appointed previously for an entity solely appointed by central Government. You see them with local government, schools and the former DHBs (which were partially elected).

If you think the board needs monitoring, why not just appoint new board members? I'm guessing, but presumably they wanted some stability so have gone for a crown observer.

David Farrar runs Curia Market Research, a specialist opinion polling and research agency, and the popular Kiwiblog where this article was sourced. He previously worked in the Parliament for eight years, serving two National Party Prime Ministers and three Opposition Leaders.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The same could be done for the PIJF Board - though better to sack it and appoint a new body.