Public hospital patients and visitors over the holidays will doubtless have been impressed with the standard of care delivered by the busy but pleasant frontline staff.
The bureaucracy that keeps this huge taxpayer-funded business ticking over is out of sight and out of mind, though the newish CEO seems to have brought impressive competence and experience to his role.
But it's the elected board that sits atop the DHB pyramid, though you wouldn't know it from a schedule that has included only one meeting since the October 12 election, and members aren't expected back around the table till February.
Their annual base salaries are about $26,000, topped up for the chair, deputy chair and committees members. They all have names in the first half of the alphabet and four are As, Bs or Cs — a clear sign of the "donkey vote" so loved by Whanganui electors. The system really is a sick joke.
Generally, boards are so far removed from staff decision-making that it wasn't surprising to hear the newly-appointed Hawke's Bay DHB chairman lamenting last week that his board wasn't told about the massively stupid and cruel letter telling more than 600 elderly and disabled recipients of help with home chores that it was being cut — and anyway, "housework is a good way of keeping fit!"
Thankfully, Minister Clark used his 2019 "captain's pick" for Whanganui to appoint as chair a highly experienced, "professional" DHB chair and Crown monitor, and his other three appointed members help provide the necessary ethnic diversity shunned by the white majority of voters.
But Clark, or his successor, will have some much bigger fish to fry when the final report on a review of our entire health and disability system lands on his desk in March. The review panel's interim report suggests a big shake-up is on the way.
I'm not alone in hoping we see the back of the elected board system and its perennial attraction as a sinecure for those alphabetically advantaged or otherwise well-known and thus able to get repeatedly re-elected to a share of the taxpayers' dollar.
Not born to be gay
In Lizzie Marvelly's January 18 column, the pull-quote states, as though it were an established fact rather than the preferred PC explanation, that people are born gay. There cannot be a genetic reason for homosexuality, or it would have died out within a generation, since children can only come from a male and female couple.
However, some research does show that early imprinting can and does orient the sexual drive one way or another.
In my opinion, we are no more predetermined to be gay, than to be a thief, a murderer, or a paedophile. All of the tendencies we have are also within our capacity to follow or reject should we choose to do so.
Young, W.C., 1961. The hormones and mating behavior. In: Sex and Internal Secretions, W.C. Young (ed), Williams and Wilkins Company, Baltimore, Maryland, pp. 1173–1239
Bergman, J., 1982. The influence of pornography on sexual development: three case histories. Family Therapy IX(3)
Holmes, B., 1994. Gay gene test 'inaccurate and immoral'. New Scientist, 141(1915):9.
•Send your letters to: Letters, Whanganui Chronicle, 100 Guyton St, PO Box 433, Whanganui 4500 or email email@example.com