Clev­er­ley re­signed with ‘heavy heart’

The Timaru Herald - - FRONT PAGE - BEN AULAKH

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.’’

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