People in rest homes should be able to upgrade their experience by paying extra, says sitting Hawke's Bay District Health Board member Peter Dunkerley.

A candidate in the upcoming board election, he said rest homes for the elderly in Hawke's Bay should have different classes of treatment. Those that paid more would receive better treatment and conditions.

"All our rest-home care is very flat level at the moment," he said.

"It is all the same because the Government doesn't let anybody contribute to the cost of it privately.


"If the family want to contribute to their mother or father in a rest home for a higher tier care ... that is not really possible at the moment - what we give you is what you get.

"I think there is an opportunity there to have different levels of care."

He said the Hawke's Bay District Health Board could work with organisations "to make that work".

All rest homes in Hawke's bay were government subsidised "so it has to come from a different innovation somewhere else".

He also supported initiatives "like having older people grow old but having younger people become more involved in their life".

Mr Dunkerley was part of the board that was sacked and then reinstated in 2008 amid allegations of poorly managed conflicts of interests.

Every member of the sacked board who stood for re-election was successful, also including sitting members Kevin Atkinson, Diana Kirton and Helen Francis.

Mr Dunkerley bought his Stortford Lodge pharmacy close to the hospital in 1974.

Its Lotto outlet has had the most first division winners in New Zealand. He sold the business to the Radius Pharmacy group, becoming its chairman before concentrating on community work.

He has been involved with The Community Foundation, Pekapeka Wetland, The Rescue Helicopter Trust, the Digital Archive and is a Rotary Paul Harris Fellow.