Looks like bad news for Cindy and Clark

The Middlemore story is looking pretty bad now for David Clark and now it has trapped Jacinda Ardern who looked decidedly shifty when questioned by media yesterday.

Stuff reports:

Two Counties Manukau District Health Board members have been pushed out by the health minister in the wake of the Middlemore Hospital building saga, but questions remain over what really happened.

The DHB has been under fire after news that several buildings at Middlemore Hospital were dealing with extreme mould, asbestos and raw sewage issues.

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 warningsimply 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. End quote.

Seems rather high handed. But the spin of Clark unravelled over the sewage claims, and so heads had to roll. Now he’s misled the prime minister and the media that the process of board changes are still underway while in the background he’s sacked two of them. Quote:

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.

Much of that delay is around the wording Clark’s office proposed to use in a press release that implied they were being removed because of the building problems, Darrow claimed.

On Tuesday a spokesperson for Clark’s office said both Rabindran and Darrow remain in their positions and “an announcement will be made in due course”.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the process is still underway and she wouldn’t be commenting on it while it was ongoing.  End quote.

Pork pies anyone? Quote:

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.

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.”  End quote.

And now there is confirmation the sewage issue was a massive beat-up from the government. Quote:

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”.

A settlement was negotiated and a contract was sorted for the Scott Building and Rabindran, who is a specialist lawyer in this area, did the grunt work behind getting that difficult issue sorted.

“As we were doing that other building issues came up, and it’s true that building issues were generally known about and talked about and reported on, but there was no complete list of all issues.”

In May last year the audit and finance committee, which Darrow chairs, asked Middlemore management for a full stocktake of “every problem in every building” with a report due back in August.

“They reported in August that the job was bigger than they thought and there were more problems than they thought.”

A report arrived with the committee in October and went straight to the main board meeting on October 25.

“Within a few weeks we had a full facilities remediation plan together and within two weeks all that data was with both the Capital Investment Committee and the Ministry,” Darrow said.

“Any suggestion that this board didn’t do its job or alert the appropriate authorities is just absolute rubbish. The real question is why the ministry or the Capital Investment Committee did not advise the Minister on the issues that were raised with them in detail on multiple occasions. The briefings and meeting minutes from the DHB are all on file.”  End quote.

So the sewage story was pretty much fabricated. I’m told the idea came from the permanent crisis management team ensconced in Ardern’s office. But now we know why Jonathan Coleman was never told…because the reports were all completed and forwarded to the ministry after he ceased being the minister and David Clark was in fact in charge.

David Clark has some explaining to do because prima facie it looks like he and his team have conspired to fabricate a crisis based in fibs, innuendo and now a cover-up involving the sacking of two board members.

Jacinda Ardern ran hard and fast with this in parliament and also in press conferences, is she complicit in this? What about her election promise to never tell a lie. The video on the Stuff story has plenty of mistruths that a body language or micro-expressions expert would pick holes in.

This government still thinks and acts like they are in opposition. Whilst they could get away with their dishonesty then, they can’t now. They are being held to account and have been found wanting.

Credit: Rr


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.

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