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.

    2016 priorities

    I believe that voters deserve to know about the policies and views of candidates who are standing for election. These are my priorities, for Capital & Coast DHB. 

    • Fences at the top of the cliff, not ambulances below

    We all know that prevention is better than cure. That’s why District Health Boards are active in health promotion. And early access primary health care – from your GP, nurse or other health professional – can often avoid the need for costly hospital treatments, down the track. 

    DHBs and Primary Health Organisations now work in alliances, to provide more of our health care closer to home. DHBs also fund targeted primary health care through contracts with PHOs. 

    Yet spending on health promotion and illness prevention is falling at Capital & Coast DHB. Local GP practices and health centres are being forced to make cuts, as their contracts are scaled back. 

    Even though this is ultimately being driven by insufficient funding from central government, it’s still short-sighted. In order for the people of our district to live well, get well and stay well, we need to build more fences at the top of the cliff. 

    • Reversing the decline in our health funding

    According to the Minister of Health, District Health Boards have been receiving enough funding from the government. Yet Capital & Coast DHB was forced to make $40 million worth of cuts last year – and it still ended up $10 million in the red. 

    This year’s Budget has allocated $14m less than last year, in real terms. Funding for Capital & Coast is the lowest, per person, of any DHB. This is why more and more people are missing out on healthcare. 

    It’s time to say, enough is enough. Boards elsewhere, like Canterbury DHB, have joined with their local politicians, community groups and staff unions to speak out about the impact of underfunding. And they secured a cash injection from the government. We need to start doing the same at Capital & Coast DHB. 

    • Money for health improvement, not CEO pay rises

    The number of people needing healthcare in our district grows every year. And demand is rising more quickly than health funding. 

    When money’s this tight, everyone knows you have to prioritise. It’s no reflection on the current CEO of Capital & Coast DHB, but frontline services must come first. 

    At the same time, rising poverty and inequality are causing ill-health in our communities. The government's National Health Committee has even said that income is the single most important determinant of health. 

    Capital & Coast DHB can’t eradicate poverty alone, but it can set an example to the wider community, by supporting a Living Wage for all its staff. I pledge not to vote for any CEO pay rise that’s above inflation, unless these needs have been met. 

    • Putting the "care" back into Aged Care

    Aged Care today is increasingly run by large, wealthy corporations. Yet providers receive nearly a billion dollars a year in public funding. 

    In rest homes and hospitals, most elderly people are looked after by caring staff. But there just aren’t enough nurses and caregivers to tend to the growing numbers of residents, who are ever more dependent. Across the sector, staff turnover is high, morale is falling and investment in training is low. A lack of home support means that families caring for older relatives face unmanageable demands. Yet the property investments and shareholder returns in Aged Care are booming. 

    The priorities are wrong, but we’re not powerless to change them. Public funding is delivered through contracts negotiated with District Health Boards. So even if the provider is a private company, Capital & Coast DHB can still make a difference to quality of care and value for the taxpayer. 

    Older people deserve better. They should be supported to keep contributing to our society. I want to explore how we can put “care” back into Aged Care, so our elderly are properly looked after. 

    • Whānau Ora – family well-being for all 

    The Western medical model underpins excellence in the clinical services provided by Capital & Coast DHB. But people of all cultures know that well-being is about more than medicines and operations. Health isn’t merely the absence of disease or infirmity. 

    It’s widely understood that Māori suffer from poor health status, compared to non-Māori. But there is also growing recognition that adopting Māori models of health is not only the best way to tackle these disparities, but could benefit all people, as well. 

    Genuine well-being extends beyond the individual, to include our connections with our whānau and communities. It’s about empowerment, not just treatment. It goes beyond the physical. There is no health without mental health. 

    So better health and independence for people, families and communities comes from cross-sector collaboration with other agencies and community groups, and from honouring the Treaty of Waitangi. 

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