Canterbury District Health Board forked out more than $65,000 to send its chief executive to a French business school three times over five months.

David Meates attended the INSEAD business school in Fontainebleau, south-east of Paris, in September and November of last year and then in January.

He is the latest high level Christchurch executive revealed to have attended the school, courtesy of the public purse.

The campus is sprawled across eight hectares, nestled in the picturesque Forest of Fontainebleau.


Environment Canterbury and the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority have also sent staff to INSEAD.

ECan spent $73,000 sending chief executive Bill Bayfield for four weeks in 2013, while the now defunct Cera spent $55,000 sending former Christchurch Central Development Unit boss Warwick Isaacs. Mr Issacs was sent more than a year after he left the organisation.

Mr Meates attended the International Directors Programme at a cost of $25,383, which included meals, while the remainder was spent on flights and accommodation.

The three "seminars" ran from September 13-16, November 23-25 and January 14-16.

The INSEAD programme outline says it equips attendees with the fundamentals of director and board effectiveness, CEO oversight, as well as crisis and performance management.

Transport cost was on average $11,648 per trip, including business class flights. Accommodation at INSEAD cost about $700 per stay with meals. A further $179 was spent on additional meals.

The INSEAD trip is included in the $180,000 Mr Meates spent on travel since July 2010. This also includes his travel expenses as chief executive of the West Coast District Health Board.

About $70,000 in total was spent on international travel, including trips to the United States, Hong Kong and Australia, for conferences or presentations.

The CDHB is facing huge financial pressures, and is struggling with the increased mental health needs of the post-earthquake population and a large rebuild programme, while delivering a $1.3 billion budget.

The CDHB remuneration and appointments committee, comprised of chairman Murray Cleverley and elected members Steve Wakefield and David Morrell, suggested the course and approved it.

The remainder of the board were not told until December that Mr Meates had been to France.

Mr Meates earns between $570,000 and $579,000, according to State Services Commission data from 2015.