Health Minister David Clark ignored repeated pleas to tell the truth about Counties Manukau DHB and to clear their names from public servants whose reputation he had unfairly damaged, National’s MP for Botany Jami-Lee Ross says.
“This come after last week’s release of a damning voicemail where Dr Clark tried to silence former Counties Manukau District Health Board chairman, Rabin Rabindran, while simultaneous saying he would consider him for more jobs in the future.
“Correspondence between Dr Clark and Mr Rabindran shows Dr Clark threw hard working health professionals under the bus to protect himself, gagged them and then refused to front up when it was clear he had wronged them.
“Mr Rabindran repeatedly asked Dr Clark through emails, phone calls and text messages over several weeks to front up and admit he had mislead the public over claims he knew nothing about issues at Middlemore Hospital, and that he had made exaggerated claims.
“Mr Rabindran asks Dr Clark to correct his false claims Dr Rabindran and the DHB did not tell him about the issues and that Mr Rabindran had apologised for this, adding ‘my reputation has been badly affected’.
“In an email to colleagues, Dr Rabindran says of his discussions with Dr Clark ‘I said that I have a good reputation but all this in the media is affecting that reputation. He kept apologising. I wish I could have recorded what he said’.
“Dr Clark gave repeated assurances he would clear the matter up publicly but never did so. Instead, he appears to have tried to gag Mr Rabindran by offering him new appointments while at the same time asking him not to speak publicly.
“This is not offering an experienced lawyer and director a ‘dignified exit’, this is a disgrace.
“Dr Clark knew as early as March 22 that he was misleading New Zealanders. Yet he perpetuated lies about the DHB in media interviews and statements in Parliament for months.
“If Dr Clark had made a simple mistake and said the wrong thing, that’s understandable. But the fact he’s refused to front up in spite of the evidence he was wrong and the damage he has caused is unacceptable.
“Did Dr Clark make the call to leave these public servants carrying the can for his mistake, or was that decision made higher up within the government?
“The Prime Minister needs to tell New Zealanders whether or not this is acceptable behaviour from a Minister and what is going to be done about it because Mr Rabindran, the staff at Counties Manukau DHB and New Zealanders deserve so much better.”