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.

Tom Belford

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  1. Thanks for your support Tom (and go well yourself!) Those who might wish to know more about me could go to my LinkedIn profile at http://nz.linkedin.com/pub/graeme-norton/23/503/b55/and my take on 5 key issues is at http://www.vote.co.nz . Apart from the Consumer Council role I am also Chair of the Diabetes Leadership Team for Hawke’s Bay and one of the Advisory Committees to the Board. I feel like I have done an apprenticeship and time to put my hand up to take on more!

  2. I would also urge people to seriously consider Heather Skipworth who has had a huge impact on Maori and Pasifica health with Iron Maori.

  3. Please note that Grey Power Hastings & Districts Assn. is holding an afternoon meeting on Friday 4th October 2012
    At the Hastings Baptist Church Lounge, Hastings.
    Time 2pm
    Meet all the HBDHB candidates.
    This is a public meeting. All welcome
    Marie Dunningham

  4. I strongly support Heather Skipworth,(wwith many more like Heather) for H.B.D.H.B
    For too long many Pakeha (with the best of intentions) are voted to positions of leadership that require some understanding about our bi-cultural responsibility towards each other.
    Yet (well remunated) Pakeha leadership, often refuse to attend a Tiriti O Waitangi workshop, to better understand the effects of colonization, now urbanization on today’s Maori costly well-being
    Covering education, health or justice
    Too many in pakeha leadership prefer to remain in a state of ignorance -Bad News, with many J.Ps included
    Sadly our own nationhood is still not taught well at school, even at Training College (other nations stories still appeal )

  5. For those that have not voted for the Hospital Board I have a recommendation : Pip Rutherford. A very highly educated Nurse with great personality, very well respected in the community and has done great sevice over the many years she has worked in Hawkes Bay has put her name forward for the HBDHB. We are lucky to have her put her name forward and I would highly recommend you give her your vote. Barry Jones.

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