With super-charged campaigning occurring in the Regional and Napier Council races, and Hastings voters pleased or frustrated (depending on their voting preferences) that divided opposition spells re-election for Lawrence Yule, it’s the election of HB District Health Board members that seems to draw the least attention.
That’s unfortunate, because along with the Regional Council needing to ‘get it right’ on water, ‘getting it right’ on health care is the other paramount issue confronting Hawke’s Bay. We should be paying far more attention to the people seeking election to our District Health Board.
I would hope (and expect) that Kevin Atkinson is a sure bet to be re-elected by the voters, and then re-designated as chairman. He knows the issues inside out and sees the trend lines; he’s accessible and keeps his finger on the public pulse. An easy #1.
I also like two potential newcomers to the DHB.
Jacoby Poulain is well-established as an articulate and fully engaged Hastings councillor. I’m pleased that she is attempting to expand her horizons by stepping up to the DHB as well. If elected, her regular columns in HB Today could provide a platform where she can have a great positive influence on our understanding of the health challenges we face as a region.
Graeme Norton is a strong advocate of patient-centered approaches to medical care. Among other things, this includes more focus on overall well-being … encouraging and empowering healthy personal lifestyles, before expensive treatment is required to repair the damage of things like smoking and obesity. Graeme already has an oar in the water as chairman of the DHB’s Consumer Council, and as a successful businessman, he appreciates how scarce resources can have more impact at the top of the cliff, when devoted to prevention.
I urge you to pay special attention to the profiles of Jacoby and Graeme when you peruse your Voter Guide.