Ryall sacks DHB Chair

Written By: - Date published: 5:47 pm, February 17th, 2009 - 31 comments
Categories: health, national/act government - Tags: , ,

Health Minister Tony Ryall’s decision to sack Richard Thompson as Chairman of the Otago District Health Board on the grounds of historical fraud by a staff member has a nasty whiff of political interference to it.

Considering the fraud began before Thompson became Chairman and it was caught and stopped under his watch the case for sacking him seems pretty thin. As Pete Hodgson has pointed out, sacking the guy who helped catch the crook is nonsensical.

This is especially so given it’s now been two and half years since the fraud, he’s been kept on by three ministers since and has earned a fresh mandate by being re-elected as the board’s second-strongest polling candidate in 2007.

Given all this, you do have to ask what Tony Ryall’s sudden motivation for sacking him might be. NZPA provides some answers:

A defiant Mr Thomson today told NZPA he believed the real motivation to sack him was because he was a Labour Party member.

Mr Ryall’s decision reeked of political interference, he said.

‘He thought he could get rid of someone who batted for the other side and make some political capital out of it,’ he told NZPA.

The health board’s chief medical officer seems to agree, arguing that Thompson was blameless and that Ryall was simply looking for a scapegoat.

This whole affair reeks of the kind of political interference National campaigned to do away with.

31 comments on “Ryall sacks DHB Chair ”

  1. lprent 1

    I’d say that Tony Ryall should be ashamed of doing this type of blatant political interference.

    However I’m sure from past experience that he is rather too stupid to understand the distinction between dismissing someone for cause after due process and just acting like a petty dictator. His past statements have been to accuse the minister of acting improperly in the Hawkes Bay where due process was followed. Ryall’s actions here have been to ignore due process and just act like a petty arsehole.

  2. Rex Widerstrom 2

    No, no, no you’re completely missing the point Tane.

    This sets an important precedent for sacking the present incumbent because you find things that happened before they took office utterly appalling.

    Any minute now watch for the Nats to call on themselves to be sacked over the Owen Glenn saga 😀

  3. Lew 3

    Pretty good musician, not such a cracking bureaucrat, apparently.


    [lprent: Oh dear.. Next thing I know you’ll be scouring youtube for Nick Smith’s who can sing like a canary. Besides – RT was an excellent musician]

  4. Peter Johns - bigoted troll in jerkoff mode 4

    it’s called accountability chaps, not that soft-coke socialists know the meaning of the word.
    BTW, Peter Doone was political interference of the highest order, this pales into significance.

    BTW, in Atlanta USA, recession here is bad and Obama is already been seen as a full of shit fruit loop already here, even by Democratic voters who voted for him in hope. All talk, no action.

  5. Peter Martin 5

    ‘He thought he could get rid of someone who batted for the other side and make some political capital out of it, ‘

    And he probably will. Everywhere but Otago.

  6. Simon 6

    The communist saboteurs infiltrated into the public sector by Pol Clark are being swept aside by the big broomstick of righteousness.

    Keep it coming! Watch out Liabour agitators! We’ve got a government that’s going to hold you accountable. Yeehaw!

    [lprent: roughly translated, this means “I cannot argue, so I’ll make a spectacle of myself in the hopes of getting some attention”. Sounds like d4j under yet another name….]

    [lprent: Nope just another jerk-off troll. Feeding to the spam]

  7. northpaw 7


    You didnae know about Atlanta?

    The again, it could be the reason you’re there.. huh!

  8. lprent said “His past statements have been to accuse the minister of acting improperly in the Hawkes Bay where due process was followed.”

    Due process followed in the Hawke’s Bay case? You’re kidding aren’t you? The former Minister should be grateful that the High Court judical review didn’t happen, then we would have seen how due the process was – or wasn’t.

    And remember, Cunliffe sacked an entire democratically-elected DHB. Ryall has merely told the Chair to stand aside – no board members have been displaced.

  9. Matthew Pilott 9

    ‘Pol Clark’, Simon?

    Grow up, sugarpuff, just a little.

  10. Dean 10


    “I’d say that Tony Ryall should be ashamed of doing this type of blatant political interference.

    However I’m sure from past experience that he is rather too stupid to understand the distinction between dismissing someone for cause after due process and just acting like a petty dictator. His past statements have been to accuse the minister of acting improperly in the Hawkes Bay where due process was followed. Ryall’s actions here have been to ignore due process and just act like a petty arsehole.”

    Do you know the difference between sacking the chair and sacking the entire board? Are you aware of who appoints the chair and who votes the board in?

    Honestly. You’d give an aspirin a headache.

  11. Janet 11

    Ryall reinstated his mates on the HB board, who were clearly implicated in some very shady deals. Watch out for resignations from senior staff there who are very unhappy at the reinstatement of people who are so incompetent, and with questionable understanding of governance.

    Yet a popular DHB chair with some integrity and vision gets pushed by a vindictive minister.

  12. lprent 12

    Dean & I2:

    So what you are saying is that Ryall decided to set aside the decision of the board about the chairman for a reason that wasn’t just political affliation?

    Exactly why did he do that? Was it something to do with ‘interesting’ purchasing decisions? Was it something to do with any kind of malfeasance that the chairman could have any control over? Was it because the board was disfunctional with the staff?

    No – it was because he did his job. Remember that is the ostensible reason that Ryall has released – he found some fraud after he was made chairman and fixed the problem. That is what he was elected to do. Why exactly is that something that Ryall has ANY reason to be looking at.

    Ryall doesn’t appear to have bothered to actually follow the processes. He has just acted like a petty little arsehole who has been made a minister. Ryall is a total disgrace to have as a minister – a true distinguishing attribute of a NACT government. Politically corrupt and something they should be ashamed of.

    Please defend your support of Ryalls actions? Perhaps you have a highly variable sense of justice? Almost hypocritical.

  13. Pascal's bookie 13

    BTW, in Atlanta USA, recession here is bad and Obama is already been seen as a full of shit fruit loop already here, even by Democratic voters who voted for him in hope

    With numbers like these it sure is falling apart fast. And GA was such a stronghold too.


  14. Dean 14


    “Please defend your support of Ryalls actions? Perhaps you have a highly variable sense of justice? Almost hypocritical bearing in mind your previous statements on Cunliffe and the Hawkes Bay DHB.”

    Since you choose to be like that, please defend the sacking of the entire board carried out by the previous government. While you’re at it, please defend the use of due process from a former cabinet minister when the PM did no such thing on several occasions, including the latest defamation case she’s settled out of court. Let’s not talk about the former police commissioner though, because we all know just how embarassing that was for you.

    See, LP? Not only Labour members can play these games.

    I eagerly await your reply in which you attempt to pretend that you’re objective in these matters. While you’re at it, please research the meaning of the phrase “pot? this is kettle. black. over.”

  15. lprent 15

    Dean: So what you’re saying is that you prefer to avoid the issue?

    You cannot defend this obnoxious corrupt political interference by an arsehole minister – Tony Ryall – surely not? From the sanctimonious attacker of Cunliffe over Hawkes Bay? I take it from your last statement with its various indirections to actually say that you couldn’t defend Tony Ryall. If you cannot defend his action – why didn’t you just say so? It’d be a lot easier than twisting yourself through those circumlocutions.

    Defend his action or I will take your agreement as implicit. That is the way of the dogwhistle brigade isn’t it?

  16. Dean 16


    I’ve got no reason to debate anything like this on an adult level with you, given your silence on similar or arguably worse actions by members of your own political party.

    I’m loving that you’re using due process as a defence of the Hawkes Bay DHB fiasco while simultaneously ignoring who appoints the chair. It’s also interesting that you chose to ignore that when you asked me to defend Ryall. It’s like you’re trying to be willfully ignorant, or perhaps it’s a case of doublethink that Orwell would be proud of.

    What you don’t seem to understand is that it’s not about defending Ryall at all. It’s that its utterly sanctimonious for you to have a problem with what he did given the actions of the political party you are a member and activist of. And especially when you are pretending to ignore what happened under the previous government.

    I’m afraid that if you can’t understand that then you’re in the same position as Jordan Carter is over the copyright bill – completely unbelievable.

  17. “Peter Johns

    it’s called accountability chaps, not that soft-coke socialists know the meaning of the word.”

    Accountability for someone else’s actions? kind of like how your party of liars and thieves believe the tax payer should be held financially accountable for the bad decisions of the executives of large companies I guess.

  18. Pascal's bookie 18

    Dean, it’s not actually about Lynn. Or at least, it may be for you, but that’s kind of weird. You should stop obsessing.

    What do you think about the sacking?

  19. Quoth the Raven 19

    BTW, in Atlanta USA, recession here is bad and Obama is already been seen as a full of shit fruit loop already here, even by Democratic voters who voted for him in hope.

    I think people will realise, if they’re not already they will soon, that Obama doesn’t really represent change. We’ve already have a couple of his nominesss for postiions drop out becuase they didn’t pay their taxes. He played up the fact that he wasn’t a Washington insider then he goes and fills all his cabinet postitions with Washington insiders. He banned the hiring of former lobbyists, camapigned on the fact that he wouldn’t hire any, then grants exceptions so he can hire them. People loudly proclaimed his shutting down of Gitmo and other secret CIA prisons, but they forgot to read the fine print, “Obama’s executive orders actually give the CIA authority to carry out renditions, abductions and transfers of prisoners in secret without the threat of legal obstruction.” see here. He’s going to buy up the toxic debt just like the Bushites planned to do and failed. He said bank CEO’s who receive money from the government will have to have a pay limit except they can get around that by declaring to their shareholders they’re going to exceed it and it doesn’t apply to those that already got their government handout. He’s comes out with this big stimulus plan and then asks the repulcians (which he didn’t even need to do) how he can make it even stupider – by cutting the money that goes to the poor of course. So Obama promptly cuts out money for things like foodstamps and education making extra sure the money for prison inititives and more police stays there. And then we’ve had attack after attack on Pakistan since he’s been in power.
    So I think it will dawn on Americans sooner or later that they haven’t voted for change. They’ve been duped.
    Prosecute Bush. Impeach Obama.

  20. fraser 20

    “I’ve got no reason to debate anything like this on an adult level with you”

    ahh – the redbaiter defence – but without the insults.

    “also, labour did it to” – isnt really a defence or rebuttal. two wrongs dont make a right and all that 🙂

  21. ryallsghost 21

    About time Thomson was removed as chair after presiding over the largest non-clinical governance failure at the ODHB in decades.

  22. higherstandard 22


    The chair of the board (who are responsible for governance) has the largest fraud ever in the NZ health system occurring for several years under his watch and people are arguing that he shouldn’t have been asked to step down as chair ??

    Why weren’t the entire board and the CEO thrown out on their respective ear ?

    Sounds like the governance down South is as good as we have to put up with in Auckland where the solution to a shortage in medical staff is to reduce the number of positions…one wonders how these people manage to breath by themselves.


    The sooner someone bites the bullet and culls the 27DHBs we have in NZ for four million people the better.

  23. Tigger 23

    Can I take a wild guess that the crooks are actually members of the National Party?

    As for Ryall, he’s utterly personally dishonest so when I hear him making comments about honesty I just want to throw up.

  24. higherstandard 24

    Can I take a wild guess that you’re a complete moron ?

    [lprent: There is a point there somewhere – right?]

  25. @ work 25

    You’ve got a history of misrepresenting the subject you should be an expert on HS.

  26. Kerry 26

    god tony is so in love with sound of his own voice…..and im not sure why cause is a whinny whinny wee voice pretending to be authoritative….

    Just like that Bennet tart who runs Social Welfare..saw her on the news pretending to be grown up an pretending to care what her answers were to questions in the house.

    If I were a tory I would be asking for my money back for backing such a crap party like the nats.

  27. Nice to see you using balanced and reasoned arguments without resorting to personality attacks there Kerry 😉

  28. higherstandard 28


    “You’ve got a history of misrepresenting the subject you should be an expert on HS.”

    And you have got a history of being a mendacious simpering turd.


    “There is a point there somewhere – right?”

    It was in reply to the comment above.

    [lprent: Yeah I saw that afterwards. Remember I read backwards in time and across threads. Sometimes results in notes that don’t account for the context if they show a trait I’m looking for. It helps with ending flame sequences.]

  29. higherstandard 29

    “I read backwards in time and across threads. ”

    There’s a Dr Who joke in there somewhere.

  30. higherstandard 30

    A colleague has made me aware of a thread where certain facts are laid bare by a “friend of the board” while I realise that Kiwiblog is not well liked at The Standard is makes for rather depressing reading ……. I’d also be prepared to wager that this type of fiasco is not isolated to ODHB.


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