Fixing the Health System?

Really interesting to read various summations of the report delivered by the veritable Helen Simpson containing recommendations for the future management of Health Boards.  She recommends “culling” the number of Health Boards to eight.  There are currently twenty.

Further – she recommends a new Crown Entity to oversee services and finances to which members would be appointed rather than elected.
Finally, she recommends a new Maori Health Authority that reports to the Health Minister.
Notwithstanding that the process of electing SOME members of DHBs was a dodgy dupe by a previous Labour led government successfully hoodwinking us into thinking we would have a say in how local health should be managed; I think the idea of reducing the number of decision-makers is sound.  However, the “appointments process” needs to be about skill rather than  reward; and it needs to focus on governors who have the intestinal fortitude to hold their teams to account.  If that happens Helen Simpson’s reco…

The Power of Culture

I recently participated in an NZIoD panel discussion on the Power of Culture.My ancient Oxford fortified by duct tape doesn’t even mention the culture I was looking forward to talking about.Instead it mentions tillage or cultivation, bacteria, and improvement - either by mental or physical training.

Upon reflection – cultivating an environment in which innovation, collaboration, respect and taking responsibility can thrive is not too far off the mark.Equally, being the medium in which odiousness (bacteria) can develop is also quite relevant.Particularly so is the notion that physical and mental training have something to do with it.

The attendance list for this discussion included people from all over the country clearly indicating that this is a topic exercising many of us at the moment.

Personally, I am passionate about the Power of Culture.But what is Culture?Here’s my take. Culture is an environmental state in which fortunate people find themselves thriving and less fortunate peopl…


“You don’t have to be intellectually bright to be a competent leader.”  So said Janet Frame – Not sure where or when but it is in the Heinman Dictionary of New Zealand Quotations so she must have said it somewhere – sometime.

As one who has made a career of occupying leadership roles it would be easy to take offence at such an observation;  however with the advantage of long observation, and enough maturity to put my ego aside, I think Janet Frame is absolutely right.

In my day job I get to hear what lots of people value about effective leadership.  They say:

Understand who you are working with and communicate effectively by listening to people.  Seek and respect other’s points of view.  Maintain a sense of humour, and (my favourite) learn the ability to sit in silence.

Hold the big picture in mind, find ways to change negative to positive, be adaptable and agile, and lead by example.  Respect diversity and recognise the value it can add to sound decision-making. I agree with all of t…

Four legs or Feathers

In my bubble all but two of us have four legs or feathers.The lock-down was unsettling for the fauna around our place.The donkeys honked, the cat became friendly, the humans less friendly, and the dog barked.
So much so, that the recent discovery of a half-eaten sausage upon my deck struck fear into my heart.How does a dead sausage appear on one’s deck in the middle of the night?An unsympathetic friend suggested that it must have been alive before it was dead so it may have crawled up there. Sausages don’t have legs.We have not had sausages in the house for weeks, and this was not a sausage that would ever be entertained in my kitchen – having artificial grill lines artistically etched into it – as if that might make it taste better…
I tried to resist the thought that it was a poisoned sausage planted by somebody intending to put a stop to our dog’s ongoing garrulousness.I carefully removed it from the deck and stored it on top of the waste-to-landfill refuse while I considered wheth…

UnKicked Habits

Unkicked Habits
With crowds coagulating outside Burger King, queues compounding from before breakfast at Maccas and public bins overflowing with fast food debris on day one of Level Three, I heard the odd derogatory comment about the people who would line up for this sort of fare.
Interesting to note then, all the “others” who had been hanging out for a decent coffee – whatever that is.Coffee snobbery is probably the purview of those with plenty of discretionary income.
I’m disappointed that as we emerged from Level Four, we saw a rapid reversion to pre-lock-down habits among the fast food junkies AND the coffee snobs, then there were the parties and other activities of debauchery.
Bring back Level Four!We clearly have not had enough time to consider the poignant poems, Facebook memes, and other evidence that the planet was enjoying a breather from our everyday throwaway habits.
“We need to kick-start the economy again” is the plaintiff cry from those experiencing withdrawal from the …


So during Levels three and four while you women under 60 are pondering how you’re going to get your roots redone, spare a thought for Dr Ashley Bloomfield.His roots don’t appear as if they will need redoing, but I’m deeply concerned about how dishevelled he might look before any barber can get close enough to restore his classy coif to its former glory.
Already I’m suspecting that the PM has taken to her own glossy locks with the kitchen scissors. Having penned this pithy intro I must justify myself by reminding you what happens when one is in the public eye and doing a damn good job (as are the PM and Dr Ashley Bloomfield).

Those who are watching, become proprietorial.This licenses them to gossip, be proud, and/or rude, be concerned for the celeb’s welfare, and aware of any tiny thing that may put a ding in the paintwork – such as cutting the hair with the kitchen scissors – or not.Small price knowing you’re doing a magnificent job I guess.

I wondered – fleetingly - how the rest of …


Did anyone see that great meme: “If Donald Trump Had Captained the Titanic”?His first claim would be “There is no iceberg”, closely followed by “We won’t hit an iceberg”.When the inevitable happened, he would claim to have known it was an iceberg before anyone else knew, and then he would say “No one knows icebergs better than I do”, followed by several other contradictory statements culminating in “I am the best captain, ask anyone”.
I shared it with my cynical nephew (as you do when you want to touch base but you don’t want to type all the usual platitudes) and not to be outdone he came back telling me he’d been watching all of Trump’s daily Covid press briefings because they’re so good!Now let me reassure you he was saying that with his tongue firmly in his cheek; but I couldn’t resist suggesting that he (my nephew) must have a masochistic streak.
I got two messages back in quick succession.The first was “let me find out what that word means” and the next – “I certainly d…