Cleverley resigned with ‘heavy heart’
Former South Canterbury District Health Board chair Murray Cleverley has spoken out for the first time since resigning from the position.
Cleverley announced his resignation as chair the same day an investigation into the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority led by Michael Heron QC wrapped up.
CERA was tasked with leading and co-ordinating the recovery and rebuild effort after the 2011 Christchurch earthquake.
Heron had looked into whether former CERA staffers Gerard Gallagher and Simon Nikoloff used their public positions to advance their business interests.
In his report Heron said Cleverley, who was their boss at the time, should have known what they were doing, but accepted he was not aware of their activities. Nonetheless, he said Cleverley’s judgment fell below the standard expected.
Cleverley also failed to disclose to CERA his shareholding in Gallagher and Nikoloff’s company, which attempted to be part of a Christchurch CBD business deal. Heron said that was a ‘‘significant error of judgment’’ on Cleverley’s part.
Cleverley resigned from the Canterbury District Health Board (CDHB), and despite resigning as SCDHB chair, he decided to remain as a board member.
In a statement, released on Friday, Cleverley said his resolution to quit as chair had not been an easy one. ‘‘My decision ... was made with a heavy heart and it would be fair to say, it was the most difficult decision I have made in my professional life.
‘‘My counsel Mr Hugh Rennie QC has said that the report by Michael Heron QC ... completely exonerates me.
‘‘Furthermore, Mr Heron believes totally in what I said in the interviews and that at no time was my honesty, integrity, competence or suitability to serve as a Crown appointee questioned.’’
Cleverley said he wanted to ‘‘reassure’’ the South Canterbury community ‘‘that I am not going anywhere’’.
‘‘I will continue to advocate for our people to get the right health care, in the right place, at the right time.’’