The health environment continues to be challenging, two candidates for the seven seats on the MidCentral District Health Board say.

Diane Anderson and Sharon Wards are among 18 people vying for the seven seats on the health board.

The MidCentral election is an "at large" vote, with the STV (single transferable voting system) used for electing DHB board members - a system of proportional representation which enables voters to rank candidates in order of preference - those preferences then determining the overall result of the election.

Eketahuna's Diane Anderson has been on the health board for five terms, while Dannevirke's Sharon Wards, the chief executive of the Tararua Health Group, is making her first bid for a seat.


Mrs Wards told a candidates' meeting in Dannevirke she has been responsible for developing and growing health services throughout the Tararua.

"Twenty years ago I was at the helm of the development of a level of community hospital services. This was instrumental in leading the merger of GPs with that hospital eight years ago," she said.

"Our health environment continues to be challenging. Here in Tararua our community is getting older and new strategies are needed, requiring value for money, along with high performance.

"I offer Tararua a voice on the district health board, based on hard, practical experience and my leadership over the past 20 years has demanded an ability to make hard decisions, while still trying to meet the health requirements in this community. A vote for me is a vote for sensible and fair governance for all our communities."

Mrs Anderson said she knows what the board needs to address over the next three years, despite not having a lot of extra funding.

"National and regional collaboration is part of this and we must ensure equal access," she said.

"We must also continue to increase the amount of elective surgery within accepted time frames."

Mrs Anderson said integrated family health centres need support too. "We need to value our workforce while continuing to grow services."