BayGate or The Hawkes Bay Affair

 

From the other side of the world – indeed it is hard to find anywhere further away from Devon – Hawkes Bay sounds idyllic. On the eastern coast of North Island, Captain James Cook and the crew of the HMS Endeavour were probably the first Europeans to set eyes upon Hawke's Bay in October 1769. Cook named the bay after Sir Edward Hawke, First Lord of the Admiralty.

 

Hawkes Bay wine, made there for a century and a half, has emerged as an international winner. The recent branding of the region as Hawkes Bay Wine Country has captured the imagination of the tourist industry and the public.

It seems that nothing out of the ordinary happens in Hawkes Bay, apart from the Earthquake in February 1931, which claimed the lives of 258 people. The next earth-shattering event concerned the Hawkes Bay District health Board in 2007.

A saga of fraud investigations, missing e-mails, a whistleblower who lost her job, an expensive inquiry dubbed “a whitewash”, alleged conflict of interests, an entire board sacked – and reinstated after a change of government...

 

The story starts in 2005 with the appointment of Peter Hausmann to the Hawkes Bay District Health Board. He is a friend of Health Minister Annette King’s husband, Ray Lind, deputy CEO of HBDHB. At the time it was pointed out that there was a potential conflict of interests involving Hausmann’s company, Healthcare of New Zealand. (Ray Lind left HBDHB in November 2006 and now works for Hausmann.)

In June 2007, Hausmann is alleged to have privileged information concerning a $NZ 50M HBDHB contract for which Healthcare NZ is tendering. The whistle blower loses her job, and in December 2007, Health Minister Cunliffe sacks the entire HBDHB Board. A year later, after a general election, the seven board members are reinstated by his replacement Tony Ryall.

Subsequent government inquiries – dubbed a whitewash by the Board Members that had been sacked – cleared Hausmann of any wrong-doing.

 

Then in February 2009 Chris Clarke, HBDHB CEO resigned, a “Victim Of Corporate Assassins And Dirty Politics” according to the

FEATURE on Cranford Hospice

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Updated 15 May 2011