Tā Mark Solomon this morning reflected on his time working at Canterbury District Health Board saying, “some might call it the Ministry of Health, I call it the Ministry of Incompetence”.
The former leader of Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, who also served as the deputy chair of the Canterbury District Health Board, says he has never faced anything like the interactions he had with the Ministry during his time on the DHB.
”It was shameful,” he told Q+A this morning.
His comments today come after seven out of 11 executives, including chief executive David Meates, resigned last year amid ongoing tensions over the organisation’s $180 million deficit and plans to reduce it.
Tā (Sir) Mark, who was knighted in 2013 for his services to Ngāi Tahu and Māori, said that he doesn’t see things improving any time soon.
“No. No I don’t. The same people are there.”
He told Jack Tame the relationship was fraught from the outset.
He described being “ambushed” by the then Director-General of Health, Chai Chuah, when he flew to Wellington for his induction after being appointed to the Canterbury DHB.
An invitation to tour the ministry saw him led into a room with “Chai Chuah, eight senior officials and a note taker and an hour’s dump on how terrible the Canterbury DHB and the chief executive Canterbury was ‘And you must get rid of him, he’s left a trail of debt and destruction, blah blah blah’”.
He told the then Minister of Health, National’s Jonathon Coleman, that “it’s patently obvious there is a full war on between your ministry and this DHB”.
Tā Mark is publishing a memoir this week, called Mana Whakatipu.