Thursday, 3 May 2018

Top Labour Politician Getting Found Out

Incompetent and Dishonest

What to do with an apparently incompetent Minister of the Crown who appears to be telling lies . . .

The country was assailed several weeks ago with allegations that Middlemore Hospital in Auckland was in dire straits.  It turns out the new government was "spinning"--that is, making things up, distorting the truth, exaggerating the alleged problems, creating a faux calamity.  Why would it do that?  Well, we don't know really. 

At the head of this apparently disreputable and dishonest attack has been the Government's new Minister of Health--one David Clark.  After the media went volcanic over all the allegedly horrible things that have been discovered about Middlemore Hospital, a few wiser heads are starting to ask questions.  It seems that they have been led by the nose ring, pulled and twisted by one David Clark, Minister of Health.

Mark Darrow, one of the Directors of Middlemore Hospital, has been summarily fired by Minister David Clark, despite the Minister never communicating with him at all, apart from the termination notice.  That of itself suggests cowardice on the part of the Minister--and/or fear of the now inevitable allegations of not dealing in good faith.  Here is just one reaction by one reporter who has done a bit more due diligence on our new deceptive and misleading Minister of the Crown.

[Director] 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." [Stuff]
Since Clark had apparently decided some time ago that directors were going to be fired, he needed a pretext.  He created one.  He seized upon a faux crisis over the state of buildings at Middlemore Hospital.
While dealing with that, the board also turned its attention to the state of the Scott Building at Middlemore Hospital which had been at a loose end for several years.  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 [Director] Rabindran, who is a specialist lawyer in this area, did the grunt work behind getting that difficult issue sorted.

"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."  Darrow says the remedial stocktake that was done at Middlemore was probably the most comprehensive of any DHB in the country and Clark was now removing the very people responsible for putting a spotlight on the problems.
It appears to be a classic case of shooting the messenger.  Doubtless, that's why the disingenuous minister, David Clark does not want to meet with Mark Darrow. 

Clark has been going around the country blaming inadequate disclosure to him, the incoming minister, of "all the problems" he has now discovered at Middlemore.  What actually went down is quite different.  In fact he was fully briefed, but to this day maintains, in public, that he was never briefed. 
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.

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 [CEO] 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.  "I can't confirm what was said but I can confirm what he was given and the fact he had to ask for another copy suggests he and his advisor both didn't read it and lost the originals," Darrow said.  [Emphasis, ours]
So, which is it?  Is Clark a liar?  Is he irresponsible and careless, losing briefing papers?  Is he lazy and does not read briefing papers?  Is it all of the above?

Health is one of the biggest portfolios when it comes to government spending.  To think that it is now appears to be run by a Minister of the Crown who is busy giving off signs of incompetence, and/or deceit, and/or cowardice does not bode well.  When the media, which usually fawns over left-wing politicians, starts to smell a noisome rat, it does not bode well. 

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