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A spotlight on DHB candidates

Opinion Piece

Firstly, albeit not official, congratulations to Pat Seymour on being re-elected unopposed as the district councillor for the Tawhiti-Uawa ward.

What a fantastic candidate evening hosted by our local Rainbow Action group on Thursday evening.

As a council candidate in the City ward, it was great to meet and hear others discuss issues impacting on the LGBTIQ community.

Speakers included rural candidates, our two female mayoral candidates and sitting councillors.

It was only at this event that I realised just how many candidates have put their hands up for election to both the council and Tairawhiti DHB.

A series of questions were posed to all 23 candidates about the issues facing the LGBTIQ community and what the council should do to support its members.

Interestingly, on the council website there is no reference to rainbow communities. In my opinion, that would be a good place to start.

My patai (question) was centred on bullying, and while somewhat new to understanding rainbow community needs, I was able to provide feedback following discussions with someone who identifies as a member of the LGBTIQ community.

I spoke about the career pathways offered to young people, and while there are plenty, as a society we must go a step further to discourage and eliminate bullying against LGBTIQ members, and for that matter other members of our community who are considered different, both within and outside our workplaces. Only then will we realise our true potential as a society.

The quote, “babies don’t know colours, they are taught them”, comes to mind.

I have also read a number of letters to the editor with the names of two or three candidates being proposed as preferred councillors, and while my name has not made those shortlists, I would like to think that what I would bring to the council table will be recognised and will translate into votes.

Anyway, I have decided to place the spotlight on candidates standing for the DHB, and in particular those who are not high profile.

If you are anything like me, you will conduct a litmus test to identify who is most suitable for a role.

I take into account personal attributes, professional competencies, passion and knowledge of the work or community, and the ability to work well with others.

Based on this rationale, a number of names have surfaced. Dr Peeti Wainui Rauna, Rose Gould-Lardelli, Pita Paul, Nicola McCartney, Sandra Faulkner, Kerry Worsnop, Dayle Takitimu, Nick Tupara, Glenis Phillip-Barbara and Rachel Lodewyk.

It is heartening to see the calibre of candidates standing, including those not named.

From what I heard and know about those highlighted in my commentary, collectively they will bring clinical, legal, business, education, social service, Maori, rural and local community intel.

A combination of these qualities will be required to improve our health scorecard.

A key challenge facing them is getting central government to redesign the funding model and base it on needs, not population.

Exciting times ahead.