Com­mu­nity re­sponse grat­i­fy­ing part of hos­pi­tal fundrais­ing ef­forts

Otago Daily Times - - Regions - pam.jones@odt.co.nz

Q How have you found it be­com­ing such a pub­lic fig­ure through your role in the Man­iototo Hos­pi­tal re­build project?

I en­joy be­ing the chair­man of Man­iototo Health Ser­vices Ltd, but don’t like the spot­light, it’s great that our man­ager Ge­off Fos­ter is of­ten the con­tact for com­mu­ni­ca­tion. I en­joy be­ing part of the hos­pi­tal board and the Man­iototo com­mu­nity, but I like to be be­hind the scenes. Q How do you feel about the lack of gov­ern­ment fund­ing for the hos­pi­tal re­build, and the board and Man­iototo com­mu­nity hav­ing to raise all the money for the re­build?

I’m very dis­ap­pointed that we have to, and can’t un­der­stand why in a ru­ral area like the Man­iototo we have to build the hos­pi­tal with­out any [gov­ern­ment] help. We’re very lucky that the Cen­tral Otago District Coun­cil and Man­iototo Com­mu­nity Board have come on board and pro­vided $2 mil­lion, to be ei­ther re­paid through Man­iototo rates or funded through Man­iototo land sales. We ap­pre­ci­ate that ev­ery other po­lit­i­cal party has said they will give us money if elected, but it was the cur­rent Na­tional Gov­ern­ment that we needed to help us. Q What do you make of the level of sup­port from the Man­iototo com­mu­nity for the re­build?

It’s ob­vi­ously been tremen­dous, we’ve raised al­most $1 mil­lion from com­mu­nity fundrais­ing and grants. We’ve raised a lot from the nam­ing rights for rooms, sell­ing six at $30,000 and 16 at $20,000, and they are still sell­ing. And I have a list five pages long of peo­ple who have do­nated other amounts, ei­ther small or large. Then of course you’ve got the dine and dance in Ran­furly, which raised $97,000 ear­lier this month. That was just mag­nif­i­cent.

Q

How are plans for the re­build go­ing?

We’re on track to start con­struc­tion in the first quar­ter of next year. At this stage we’re meet­ing with our ar­chi­tect ev­ery two weeks, and con­sult­ing with hos­pi­tal board mem­bers and staff about our pro­posed de­sign. We’ve ac­tu­ally ended up mak­ing the rooms big­ger, which will put the price of the project up from $5.5 mil­lion to $6 mil­lion. We’ve got the abil­ity to bor­row any fi­nal money we need, and we just want to make sure the re­build is done right while we have the chance. Q How is your life out­side of the hos­pi­tal re­build, out on the farm?

I’m a fourth­gen­er­a­tion farmer and have been a farmer all my life, now in part­ner­ship at our 2000ha sheep and beef farm Di­a­mond Hill, in Gim­mer­burn, with my son Mark Pater­son. It’s great to see the farm stay in the fam­ily, in my opin­ion that’s what it’s all about. But some other fam­ily farms are slowly changing and be­ing taken over by cor­po­rate farming, and I think that’s a shame, los­ing the fam­ily­owned fo­cus in farming. Q What do you make of Labour’s pro­posed wa­ter pol­icy to charge a roy­alty for ir­ri­ga­tion wa­ter, and how has the idea been re­ceived in the Man­iototo?

Peo­ple are very angry. It’s dis­ap­point­ing that farm­ers are some­times por­trayed as the vil­lains, and the pro­posed charge seems to be to­tally un­fair when our rivers are some of the best around and a lot of work is be­ing done to keep them right. The wa­ter charge would take a lot of money out of the Man­iototo com­mu­nity, at a time when Ran­furly’s go­ing ahead re­ally well. It would be a shame if there was any set­back for the com­mu­nity. Q What else are you in­volved in and what do you like do­ing?

I’m a mem­ber of the Man­iototo Lions, which has about 50 mem­bers and is a very good club. It has a good bunch of mem­bers and is a very en­joy­able club to be a mem­ber of. The club is also do­ing a lot of work for the hos­pi­tal re­build, they are go­ing through the in­ter­na­tional Lions wing to see if they can get some fund­ing for it, and are aim­ing to do­nate about

$200,000 to­wards the med­i­cal cen­tre part of the re­build.

The only other thing I do is I’ve just taken up bowls, about three years ago, and I re­ally en­joy that.

PHO­TOS: GE­OFF FOS­TER/PAM JONES

Man­iototo Hos­pi­tal. Right: Man­iototo Health Ser­vices Ltd chair­man and farmer Stu­art Pater­son.

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