Bob Tizard back in political leadership role at the age of 83

By Errol Kiong

An 83-year-old former Deputy Prime Minister and Health Minister is among the new faces around the boardroom tables of Auckland's three district health boards.

Bob Tizard, who in a 38-year political career held the health portfolio for a term during the Kirk Labour Government, is one of five new members elected to the Auckland District Health Board in a poll that saw most sitting members returned.

Mr Tizard said the results, which saw his election and those of two other members of the centre-left City Vision Health ticket, returned a board that could comprise up to five different groups once Government-appointed members are included.

"I've got no idea at this stage of what majority opinion is likely to emerge on that board," he said.

But Mr Tizard has some clear impressions of what the public thinks is wrong.

"I hear quite a lot of anecdotal tales and some very direct evidence is presented from some people of where there are shortcomings. One of my first efforts is to try and get to the bottom of those.

"You can't say enough that's good about the service that's provided. But there are just gaps sometimes, or oversights, and we've got to work at little things often to make sure that big things work properly."

Mr Tizard joins Auckland City Hospital nurse Jo Agnew, journalist Susan Buckland, management consultant Brian Fergus, former Auckland board chief financial officer Ian Ward and sitting members Ian Scott and Chris Chambers on the board.

Sitting members Barry De Geest, Virginia Hope and Di Nash did not seek re-election.

Meanwhile, it was a bittersweet day for dumped Auckland Regional Council finance committee chairwoman Wyn Hoadley.

Ms Hoadley missed out to former Winz chief Christine Rankin for one of the two North Shore City spots on the regional council, but squeezed on to Waitemata DHB, getting the last of seven elected positions.

Ms Hoadley had been concerned about problems with North Shore Hospital's emergency hospital care.

"There are beds in the aisles. Down at critical care it's bedlam, and the staff do their best but it's just a lack of resources."

She wants Waitemata to get a fair share of the resources.

"On the North Shore we're made out as a rich community, and while that might be so in certain areas there are other areas that are really not faring too well."

She joins another new member, nurse Mary-Anne Benson-Cooper, on the board, which was largely re-elected.

In Counties Manukau, sitting members Bill Mudgway and David Collings missed out, and Jillian Dooley did not seek re-election. Replacing them are the Healthy Manukau ticket's Anne Candy and Colleen Brown, and chartered accountant Michael Williams.

Mrs Brown, who was also re-elected for a third term on the Manukau City Council, said she had campaigned as an educator, former carer for elderly parents and as the mother of a disabled son.

"But also the fact there were no women in Manukau who were represented - and now we've got two on."

Up to four Government-appointed members, who typically fill the chair and deputy chair positions on each board, are expected to be announced in the next fortnight.

They and the newly elected members take office on December 10.

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