Why Leggett’s going after a health job
One of mayor Nick Leggett’s biggest frustrations is being unable to make a real difference to his constituents’ health, he says.
Mr Leggett said residents constantly asked him to help with health issues facing Porirua, so he has decided to run for a seat on the Capital & Coast District Health Board the October elections, as well as for mayor of Porirua.
‘‘Instead of just being someone who jumps up and down about health issues, I want to be someone who has an influence,’’ Mr Leggett said.
‘‘Residents look to the council, but we don’t have any involvement apart from advocacy.’’
Maintaining 24-hour health- care for Porirua and Tawa residents is Mr Leggett’s top priority, he says.
While visiting Kenepuru A&M recently, he was asked to ensure the facility remained open – an example of a request he cannot currently meet.
‘‘We have the highest number of kids [ per capita] in the country in Porirua, many of them in high-need households.
‘‘GP services have to be easily accessible and effective so their health needs are being met.’’
Another motivation for standing was to retain a Porirua and Tawa voice on the board. Porirua- based incumbents Barbara Donaldson and Margaret Faulkner are standing down, and of 23 people vying for seven spots on the board, Mr Leggett is the only one from Porirua.
He insisted he would have time for the $25,000-a-year job on top of his $101,333 role as mayor.
‘‘ So much of my time gets taken up on health in the city anyway.’’
Upper Hutt mayor Wayne Guppy was a current example of a mayor who also sat on the DHB, Mr Leggett said.
Ms Donaldson and Ms Faulkner had done a fine job on the DHB, but as mayor, Mr Leggett might have more clout, he said.
‘‘ They’ve been superb advocates for Porirua. The issue’s not them. The issue is the structure of the health board, if anything.
‘‘ If I’m re- elected to the mayoralty, I can use that position to better advocate for health.’’
New look: Mayor Nick Leggett and councillor ’Ana Coffey show off council rebranding at a park by Porirua Stream.