Kia ora,

My name is Grant Brookes. I'm standing for election to Capital & Coast District Health Board.

The most trusted profession have put their trust in me, electing me President of the New Zealand Nurses Organisation. Now I'm asking you to put me at the top of your list of DHB candidates this October.

I am committed to:

  • Fences at the top of the cliff, not ambulances below
  • Reversing the decline in our health funding
  • Money for health improvement, not CEO pay rises
  • Putting the "care" back into Aged Care
  • Whānau Ora – family well-being for all

  • Having stood for the Board in 2013 and narrowly missed out, I now aim to become part of a fresh, like-minded team with the energy to meet today's health challenges.

    You can find out more About me and My priorities by clicking on the links, or by contacting me on 021 053 2973, or emailing grant_brookes at paradise dot net dot nz.

    Preliminary election result for Capital & Coast DHB

    The preliminary election result for Capital & Coast DHB has now been released. 

    Of the 211,000 voters in the Capital & Coast District, just 79,866 (38%) took part on the DHB election. 

    The number of people who gave me their number 1 vote was up by a third on 2013, placing me in the top seven after first preferences were counted. But the transfer of second, third and subsequent preferences under the STV voting system did not go my way. I dropped out of contention when the people who voted for Fran Wilde (a candidate now close to the National Party) had their second choices counted. 

    I am disappointed not to have been elected, not only for myself but for all of those who worked hard over the last few months on my campaign. But beyond this, what does the result mean for the Board, and for the health of the Capital & Coast District? 

    Personalities and “names” always loom large in local elections. But as the campaign wore on, it became clear that there was also a contest over some defining issues. 

    In my case, I stood for a model of healthcare which was informed by my nursing knowledge. 

    I promoted a stronger emphasis on primary healthcare and a population health approach, rather than a focus on hospitals, in order to address the needs arising from this century’s growing epidemics – including obesity, poor mental health, and long-term conditions related to ageing. This meant tackling health inequalities, and the social and environmental determinants behind them.

    And I stood for a return to a fully-funded health system, where the DHB doesn’t have to fundraise for life-saving medical equipment like MRI scanners. I was clear that this could lead to some disagreements with the Health Minister over appropriate funding levels.

    It is satisfying to see that some candidates were elected who broadly shared similar views on these questions – Sue Kedgley, Eileen Brown and Roger Blakeley. 

    But the voters of the Capital & Coast District also chose candidates with opposite views

    Among elected candidates was one who said that an expanded range of specialist hospital based services, rather than primary health care or health promotion, must be the highest priority. She argued that population health issues such as obesity required an emphasis on “individual responsibility” and did not agree (for example) that climate change was a significant environmental determinant of health requiring DHB action. 

    Other successful candidates argued that limited resources meant “better ways of working” were needed, rather than more funding. 

    And some were elected who either explicitly stated that their primary responsibility would be to the Minister of Health, not the community they represent, or who had a long record of service as ministerial appointees. 

    So the election result will mean no major change in direction. Given government funding signals, the recent pattern of creeping cuts at CCDHB is likely to continue and health inequalities and unmet health needs will persist. 

    My commitment to the health of the district remains. So I will now turn my attention to supporting the progressive candidates who have been elected, to the best of my ability from outside the boardroom. Once the unelected Ministerial appointees and Crown Monitor join them at the Board table, sadly they’ll be a clear minority.