Dean un­der fire over hospi­tal

Central Otago Mirror - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - JO MCKEN­ZIE-MCLEAN

Waitaki MP Jac­qui Dean de­nies she has ‘‘mis­led’’ the pub­lic in her ef­forts to get fund­ing from gov­ern­ment for the Man­iototo Hospi­tal re­build.

In Man­iototo Health’s lat­est news­let­ter, its says al­though the re­de­vel­op­ment was go­ing ahead and a project man­ager - Sam Cad­den of Logic Group - had been en­gaged, they were still short of the amount needed to com­plete the job. How­ever, they praised Dean for her ef­forts to lobby gov­ern­ment on their be­half.

Dean’s lob­by­ing ef­forts have been ques­tioned, based on in­for­ma­tion re­leased un­der the Of­fi­cial In­for­ma­tion Act. The OIA re­veals the Min­is­ter of Health, Dr Jonathan Cole­man, has not had any for­mal or in­for­mal meet­ings with Dean re­gard­ing the Man­iototo re­build from May 25, 2016 to May 25, 2017.

‘‘The Min­is­ter of Health does not hold any notes, emails, com­mu­ni­ca­tions nor has he had any for­mal meet­ings with Ms Jac­qui Dean - MP for Waitaki and Hon Stephen Joyce - the Min­is­ter of Fi­nance in re­gard to gov­ern­ment fund­ing avail­able for the Man­iototo Hospi­tal re­build.’’

Man­iototo Hospi­tal bosses de­clined to comment on the OIA re­sponse. How­ever, Cen­tral Otago farmer and former politi­cian Gerry Eck­hoff said Dean had ‘‘to­tally mis­led the res­i­dents of the Man­iototo and in­deed the wider elec­torate with her com­ments that she is lob­by­ing col­leagues and work­ing hard on this is­sue’’.

‘‘Her state­ments that she is in touch with ‘‘col­leagues’’ are clearly a gross dis­tor­tion of the re­al­ity as ex­em­pli­fied by the OIA.’’

Dean said she had worked closely with Man­iototo Health Ser­vices chair­man Stu­art Pater­son and con­tin­ued ’’to work hard for the peo­ple of the Man­iototo to en­sure they get the best pos­si­ble out­come for health ser­vices in their area’’.

‘‘While no for­mal meet­ings re­gard­ing Man­iototo Hospi­tal have been held, I do meet in­for­mally with Health Min­is­ter Jonathan Cole­man, on a weekly ba­sis.

‘‘My role is to ad­vo­cate on be­half of the peo­ple of the Man­iototo and I be­lieve that I am do­ing the best that I can be­cause I gen­uinely un­der­stand that Man­iototo Hospi­tal is a sig­nif­i­cant project for the area. To date, I have not been suc­cess­ful in my en­deav­ours, but that doesn’t mean that I have given up try­ing.’’

❚ Can­di­dates talk health, page 7

JO MCKEN­ZIE-MCLEAN

The Man­iototo Hospi­tal that the com­mu­nity is re­plac­ing with a mod­ern, pur­pose-built fa­cil­ity.

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