Last night I posted the exchange from Q3 yesterday afternoon, where Tony Ryall tabled incriminating e-mails between Peter Hausmann and the Hawke's Bay DHB management. Today it's Q6 - judge for yourself - again, the emphasis is mine:
6. Hon TONY RYALL (National—Bay of Plenty) to the Minister of Health: Does he have confidence in the inquiry into alleged conflicts of interest at the Hawke’s Bay District Health Board, and why?
Hon DAVID CUNLIFFE (Minister of Health) : Yes. Although this is an independent process and I have not seen any drafts or been briefed as to details of any of the panel’s findings, I have total confidence in this review process. I am advised that the review panel’s report, which has been requested by the Director-General of Health, will be available to me on 17 March.
Hon Tony Ryall: Is the Minister aware that the material revealing secret emails between Hausmann and the executive, in which Hausmann changed the tender documents to his advantage, was withheld from the inquiry by both parties and came to light only after independent forensic analysis in London of the back-up tapes; and what does that say about the balance of truth in this inquiry?
Hon DAVID CUNLIFFE: I repeat that I have not been briefed on material that is in the draft or final report, or in any of its versions. That is for good reason, and that is to preserve the independence of the report. We all look forward to receiving the report, and we all look forward to seeing what it says about whom.
Hon Tony Ryall: Would the Minister retain his confidence in the executive of the Hawke’s Bay District Health Board if he knew that documents were withheld and came to light only because of forensic computer analysis in Britain?
Hon DAVID CUNLIFFE: The primary question was as to my confidence in the director-general’s review process, and I maintained that I have a high degree of confidence in that. As to the relationship between the executive and the board—
Hon Bill English: Answer the question.
Hon DAVID CUNLIFFE: —that is now a matter, I say to Mr English, for the commissioner whom I have just appointed.
Hon Tony Ryall: Would the Minister have confidence in the chief executive of the Hawke’s Bay District Health Board if it was confirmed to him that this information was withheld and came to light only because of specialised forensic analysis in Britain of the back-up tapes, which were mysteriously damaged?
Hon DAVID CUNLIFFE: I repeat that the appropriate governance relationship here is between the board, or in this case the commissioner, and the chief executive. It is not for Ministers to interfere in the management of chief executives, who are technically only the lead employees of boards.
Hon Tony Ryall: Why was the Minister happy to release material from Mr Hausmann and Mr Clarke in an attempt to mislead the public, when Mr Hausmann and Mr Clarke had their collusion exposed only by forensic computer analysis?
Hon DAVID CUNLIFFE: That question is so full of allegations as to be almost impossible to answer, but let me do my best. I took advice as to the proper process in respect of the public disclosure of both submissions tendered to me in terms of my public request. I acted upon that advice by making both submissions public. I note that both the parties that made submissions are likely to be the subject of the Director-General’s draft report.
Hon Tony Ryall: Can the Minister confirm that his commissioner has terminated the legal action of the previous board that was seeking to ensure all information was made available, and can we take it that this is yet another step in the Government’s plan to cover up the stench that has been involved here?
Hon DAVID CUNLIFFE: I am glad the member has asked that question, because it gives me the opportunity to reiterate that my sole motivation here is to ensure the sustainable delivery of health services to the people of Hawke’s Bay. Regardless of whomever the Director-General’s review proves to be right and wrong, my concern is that the people of Hawke’s Bay are not the casualties of the unholy mess that has surrounded this dysfunctional board.
Note that Cunliffe completely ignored the thrust of Ryall's last supplementary question. Why would the newly-appointed commissioner of the DHB terminate the Board's legal action to defend its integrity? You be the judge.