Suggestions Health Minister tried to gag hospital staff

A week that began with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced she would be staying away from Parliament as the birth of her child nears has become very messy for the Government, with Winston Peters and Shane Jones throwing bombs into the political fray, Minister Eugenie Sage under fire from Green members for doing her job, and a run of bad looks from labour ministers.

And here’s another, from Newshub: David Clark accused of silencing DHB staff over Middlemore

Newshub has obtained a voicemail and emails which suggest the Health Minister tried to gag senior staff talking publicly about the state of embattled Middlemore Hospital.

In one case he even appeared to promise a board member, who he’d sacked, another job if they shut up.

“I notice more and more getting reported that is really not helping at all, and I’m hopeful that there won’t be much more commentary,” Health Minister David Clark said in a voicemail to District Health Board chair Rabin Rabindran.

“My fear is that if you and I keep commenting, the story keeps ticking along. I’d rather not have distraction about who said what when.”

However Mr Clark denies this, saying he was “absolutely not” trying to stop board members from speaking out.

“There were a lot of conversations happening through the media and that meant there wasn’t clear communication about what was going on, and that’s unhelpful,” he told Newshub.

The voicemail was left on April 18th, two weeks after he sacked Mr Rabindran. In the same voicemail, Mr Clark offered him a new job.

“I would consider you for further appointments because I think that sends a message.”

If Clark and other Ministers under fire survive the term voters may consider sending them a message.

There is a growing impression that the Government is either out of it’s depth, or over the top arrogant. Possible both.


  1. Blazer

     /  June 15, 2018


    • david in aus

       /  June 15, 2018

      I hope it is not treated as trivia. This happens in third-world countries and that is where we are headed with that mindset.

      • Blazer

         /  June 15, 2018

        relying on assumptions…

        • PDB

           /  June 15, 2018

          The fact is Clark is dangling the carrot of a future job with his govt to a guy he has just sacked after telling him “”I notice more and more getting reported, that is really not helping at all and I’m hopeful that there won’t be much more commentary”.

          One can only assume one meaning from that & it doesn’t help the new govt’s corruption rating.

        • david in aus

           /  June 15, 2018

          It is a clear attempt to abuse his public position. The evidence is crystal clear.

    • Gezza

       /  June 15, 2018

      Jesus, Clarke’s thick.

    • Gezza

       /  June 15, 2018

      Jesus, Clark’s thick.

      • Both are dim!

      • lurcher1948

         /  June 15, 2018

        Other than national supporters, rightwing blogs and political pundits, no one gives a rats arse.People are struggling from day to day so do you rightwingers actually think people worry about trivia,Now Seymour still being in dancing with the stars that gets people wound up

        • High Flying Duck

           /  June 15, 2018

          See no evil, hear no evil.

    • Trevors_elbow

       /  June 15, 2018

      Corruption in the finance and lending concerns BOL… Labour are impeccably honest… nothing to see here…hypocrite much bol?

  2. david in aus

     /  June 15, 2018

    We need to vigilant against corruption of all types.

    David Clark should resign.

    Ministers of the Crown should be beyond reproach.

  3. Without Ardern to manage the messaging I fail to see who else will can do it well. Who will Ardern be chatting to? Two men I think – her bestie Robbo and her anointer Little. Robbo has an amiable demeanour, but what sway would he have the Air NZ and Fonterra hating NZ First or the at war Greens. Little. TBH when he was leader there was greater unity within caucus than previously. Peters and Jones are like a folie a deux, a potentially lethal combination and it’d be interesting to see how the coalition offices relate to each other.

    Look at the potential peacemakers…

    Little – probably
    Robbo – probably
    Hipkins – arrogant
    Twyford – arrogant
    Clark – even more arrogant
    Woods – same
    Davis – out of depth, lacks confidence and erudition
    Parker – cynical and overtly partisan (always has to get a shit at Nats in)
    Nash – once guy but struggling with portfolio
    Sepuloni – not bad, but no idea if she’s in the in crowd
    Lees-Galloway – nope
    Mahuta – keeps to self
    Mallard – their keeper

    What a power play there’ll be. It will be interesting to see it unfold.

    • Ray

       /  June 15, 2018

      A good summing up Travellor, though Nash admitting not reading advice that might not support his position and saying that to a Parliamentary Committee suggest arrogant in the making!

    • Blazer

       /  June 15, 2018

      but whats the alternative?
      squeaky Bridges…nah
      Paula pie op….shot
      Adams…not scoring at all
      Brownlee..the barger is now reduced to Solitaire
      Finlayson epitome of arrogance
      Bennett 2….klan prospect
      Mitchell….good with dogs…

      just a dearth of real..talent.

  4. Pickled Possum

     /  June 15, 2018

    “Clear communication” he said.
    If everybody is having their say ie social media msm and reporting what different ‘experts’ are saying … won’t it end up being a Tower of Babel. Best leave it till the Real story has evolved on how and why our Health has gotten so bad under sucessive governments. Bad management won’t be fixed instantly after a new government takes the reins. The Rot maybe to Deep.

    • I cannot see a Social democracy with state funded health care where the model is exemplary . I feel NZs is as good as any other. Not excusing the fails of course, but I think we as consumers need to appreciate how difficult it is. Like herding cats.

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  June 15, 2018

        This story seems (but with local names) to be in newspapers in ? other countries. Not the gagging but complaints about how bad it is.

  5. Corky

     /  June 15, 2018

    Let’s just call an early election and save everyone, and our beloved country, more incompetence and corruption.

  6. Zedd

     /  June 16, 2018

    I listened to some of the discussion on ZB.. many Tories just screaming “FOUL & corrupt” but after the host played the recording.. one thing stuck out, to I&I; it was part of a much wider set of conversations & cannot be just taken ‘out of context’ & in isolation !

    This is something that Natl in opposition, are doing very often…