Hawke's Bay District Health Board (HBDHB) is the biggest employer in the region, giving jobs to nearly 3000 people, and with a budget of half a billion dollars.

But the figure that has recently raised eyebrows is the number of people standing in the upcoming HBDHB election - an unprecedented 25 candidates.

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"I think one of the principal reasons is some of the senior board members are retiring this year and I think people see that as an opportunity to fill those vacancies," HBDHB chairman Kevin Atkinson said.


He had planned to retire from the HBDHB, too, but with the prospect of an inexperienced board, which will have as its first task the appointment of a new chief executive, Atkinson thought it prudent to run for a seventh term.

"I felt we needed some continuity through that process," he said.

"I had intended on retiring at the end of this current term but I'm prepared to stand for one more final term, if I get elected."

The 25 candidates for seven positions are a mix of incumbents, health professionals and people with skills outside the industry.

Over the previous nine years, HBDHB has consistently been in the Government's top quartile of DHBs for service delivery. Financially it has shone.

With few or no capital grants coming from the previous Government, the DHB financed new operating theatres, a mental health unit, birthing and endoscopy suites, and other capital upgrades through operational savings.

"The last two years have been challenging financially, but when you look across the country, 19 of the 20 health boards have posted deficits over the last two years so we are not out of line with that," Atkinson said.

"We are just hoping as we move forward into the position of at least breaking even within the next two or three years."


If elected, it may be Atkinson's last term whether he likes it or not. The Government is reviewing the health sector and it is uncertain whether DHBs will continue in their current form.

Hawke's Bay DHB candidates are:

Anderson, Hayley
Apatu, Ana
Atkinson, Kevin
Bebbington, Paul
Brian, Garry
Brosnan, Annette
Cowie, Garth
Crow, James
Davidson, David
Dunkerley, Peter
Flood, Hine
Giddens, Trish
Karauria, Leona
Latiff, Rizwaana
Lorck, Anna
Norton, Graeme
Patel, Umang
Poulain, Jacoby
Skipworth, Heather
Smith, John
Tahere, Gerraldine Kelly
Tipoki-Lawton, Hinenui
Vogtherr, Claire
Whaitiri, Jason
Wilson, Julia

Voting closes at noon on Saturday, October 12.

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