Candidates for the Health Board

You will be asked to vote for representatives on the Health Board very shortly. We asked candidates to provide a few words and a picture.  You can read more about them by following the link to a page for the local elections or you can download a 16 page pdf to read offline, from here.


Dr George Abraham

I’m a fully integrated/involved/contributing Cantabrian New Zealander chosen Christchurch as home in 1996. Indian migrant, always proud to call myself as ‘Indian Kiwi’. Father of three teenagers: Sneha – Otago University Health Science, Rahul – National Award winning Singer/Song Writer/Actor, Yr 13 & Head Boy 2013 Christchurch St. Bede’s College, Sweta – Yr 12, Christchurch Marian College.

Being a Medical Scientist/Associate Professor of Microbiology/Infectious Diseases, currently Journalist, NZ Correspondent-Indian News Media, I’ve closely interacted with all aspects of Medical/Surgical/Teaching/Research and Media Journalism. Fully confident/capable of running a Health Board. Author of medical book ‘AIDS – The Sex Killer’ with kind Foreword of Sir Edmund Hillary, published 2500+ articles nationally/internationally. Hearing Impaired. Board-Christchurch Multicultural Council, St Albans Residents Association and Volunteer – Canterbury Civil Defence. Committed to Free Dental Care for Cantabrians, Free onsite Hospital Parking, Elderly/Disabled/ Frontline staff support. Facebook: Dr. George Abraham for Canterbury District Health Board.


Sally Buck

‘Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care’
I care.

I care about people.

With a proven record of getting the job done, being approachable and accountable to you, I will advocate for affordable and better healthcare for everyone – young and old, urban and rural.

Some critical issues are: more elective surgery, reducing waiting lists, health for an aging population, improving accident and emergency services, more accessible dentistry services. But I will be listening to what you think are the issues.

I am a qualified speech and language pathologist and early intervention/disability advisor and worked for many years in these fields.

During the last three years I served on the Pegasus Health Community Advisory Board, the Partnership Health Board and I am a board member of Independence House – a facility for people with intellectual disability.

I am always available to listen to your concerns
Call me on 379 2820 or email me:


Dr Anna Crighton QSO JP

Thank you for the opportunity to write a piece for the members of the St. Albans community.

As a District Health Board Member I have worked tirelessly for the last six years ensuring that you and all Cantabrians have a voice in the running of their public health system. As a former long serving Christchurch City Councillor (1995-2007) with a reputation for strong advocacy and governance, I use those same skills to ensure asustainable quality public health system, now and for the future.

One of the most critical issues facing the public health system is our increasing ageing population. Quality health is crucial when and where it is needed. I actively support continuing improvement in older persons health and home-based care whenever possible. This one health issue alone affects all members of a family.

We are continuing to improve access to elective surgery and integrate hospital and G.P services despite the setbacks from the earthquakes. This includes building new facilities at Burwood and on the Christchurch Hospital site and repairs to earthquake-damaged facilities.

New health hubs in the rural areas have also been planned with the most comprehensive already funded and ready for building in Kaikoura and Rangiora. Both these were achieved with extensive consultation with their respective communities.

I am Deputy Chair of the Hospital Advisory Committee and a member of the Community Public Health and Disability Committee and have a proven record as hard working, accessible and accountable. The Queens Service Order was awarded to me in 2005 for services to the public.

I am seeking your support for re-election. Please rank me number 1 on the voting paper!

Contact me should you require any further information you feel I can help you with.

Telephone 03 366 2557

Mobile 021 1844 689

Andrew Dickerson 1

Andrew Dickerson

I have more than twenty-five years’ experience working in hospitals and health and am seeking support for re-election to your District Health Board.

I have had 100% attendance at Board meetings this term and am very committed to improving health services in our region.

With more than 9,000 staff and an annual budget of $1.4 billion, the Canterbury
District Health Board is a very large, very complex organisation.

I am proud of the performance of the health sector throughout the earthquakes but many of our hospital buildings require urgent repair and replacement. The Board is about to commence the largest hospital rebuild ever undertaken in New Zealand. I have the experience and commitment to contribute to this project and ensure that the outcome is a hospital that we can all be proud of.

Other priorities I will be pursuing in the coming term include:

  •  increasing elective surgery
  • improving waiting times for cancer treatment (all patients now commence treatment within 4 weeks – I want to reduce this waiting time further)
  • developing a new child cancer unit (the current unit is no longer fit for purpose)
  • introducing a bowel cancer screening programme (we have the highest rate of bowel cancer in the world)
  • improvements in the standard of rest home care – I support making audits of rest homes public.

I am totally independent (no links to any political party) and will be accountable to you – not a political party.

For further information see

I would value your number one vote to continue this work on your behalf.

Thank you.


Allison Franklin

Northcote woman, Allison Franklin, is standing for the Canterbury District Health Board this year. Allison, who has worked in the disability and health sectors since 1979, says “it was a case of now or never. I’m 54 and have the time available to dedicate to being a diligent Board member.”

Being appointed as a Director on the Southern Regional Health Authority Board from 1993-96 was a steep learning curve, but resulted in her having an in-depth understanding of how the health system works. Health Boards, then known as Crown Health Enterprises (CHEs) were just one segment of funding, albeit a major one, that the RHA controlled.

In recent years, Allison has worked as a Consumer Advisor for LifeLinks (a needs assessment/service co-ordination agency) in Christchurch and as an advisor on Disability Support Services to the Ministry of Health at a national level. She is currently a Board Member of the Cerebral Palsy Society of NZ Inc, and has served on many Committees, Trust Boards and other local groups over the years. She has spent 3 years on a Lottery Grants Distribution Committee and 4 years on a Health & Disability Ethics Committee, both Ministerial appointments, since 2008.

Allison says although she does have a “disability sector perspective” because of having cerebral palsy and having worked alongside people with a variety of other disabilities, if elected she would give equal focus to other areas such as child health services and geriatric care.

Having personal and professional experience in the health sector enables Allison to take both a practical and strategic approach to health sector issues. She believes in common sense and honesty. If elected, she would provide effective input into the Canterbury DHB, attend meetings regularly and giving Board matters her full attention.

Visit: Allison Franklin for Canterbury DHB


Wendy Gilchrist

Currently an elected member Canterbury District Health Board; appointed member of the Human Rights Review Tribunal and appointed member CERA Community Forum, founding Chair of the Victoria Streetscape Project.

Background: Nursing (registered General and Obstetric Nurse), medical research and provision of osteoporosis diagnostic services (with husband medical specialist and researcher Dr Nigel Gilchrist), business and property investment.

As a Board member I am very proud that our health system, severely tested since the earthquakes, has continued to perform and cope extremely well through difficult times. I congratulate our front line staff for their wonderful efforts in dealing with the aftermath of the earthquake on February 22nd 2010 and their continued dedication.

The CDHB has over 200 buildings, all with various levels of damage, and hospital beds have been reduced.

Over the next three years our health service will continue to be fragile while we support stressed staff who are dealing with their own post quake issues and will be having to accommodate disruption and change while repairs are being implemented around the hospital. This will create difficulties for patients at times as well.

New initiatives including increased care in the community and working collaboratively with other sectors have kept our health service functioning with fewer hospital beds. For example patients are often admitted on the day of their surgery and sent home earlier with home based support. As a nurse I am aware that this places an even heavier workload on already hard working nursing staff.

I am concerned about the level of stress our community is experiencing three years post quake. Additional services have been put in place in the community with a special emphasis on youth. Support for children and staff in our schools is being initiated. Mental Health have committed to prompt service with a minimum two week wait for hospital referrals. I continue to be concerned about the effect damaged houses and high rentals are having on the vulnerable in our community

Collaboration is Important. Healthy and warm home initiatives have been supported. Public Health are working across agencies to promote healthy homes and to ensure the vulnerable are supported.

A $600 million redevelopment is now planned for Burwood and Christchurch Hospitals with the new facilities at Burwood being fast tracked to finish in 2015.

Our health system and our health workforce will continue to be fragile over the next three years, we need consistency and stable leadership on the Board during this time


Jo Kane of North Canterbury

Post earthquakes the whole of Canterbury health professionals delivered what was needed under the constraints but three years on the focus seems to be on bricks and mortar-new hospitals. The opportunity for health delivery should focus on how you can access your health needs in a way that’s timely and affordable. With the shift in communities and the diversity that comes with that, this is the ideal time to canvas what the community needs not what Wellington wants. I have a forthright inquiring style that will ask the questions and represent both rural and urban Canterbury to ensure that the strategic direction for the board is one that puts the community’s needs first. I have the time to attend ALL meetings (unlike some elected representatives in the last term ) and my previous experience on the CDHB means I already have a good understanding of the complexity that distorts the confidence we should have in our health systems and more importantly a sound knowledge of the budget and targeted restraints. We need to balance the underpaid and under- appreciated work done by the non-government sector (NGO) as well as understanding the demographic shift in our population and the pressures that brings. For a strong voice that will be your voice to ensure that your health need are close to home, that you can afford and will respond to what you need – Jo Kane should be your number 1 choice.


Beth Kempen

My brief bio as requested by the elections office encaptures my wish to help by standing for the DHB , i.e. I took Tony Ryall’s call – encouraging ‘ordinary people’ who are passionate about health services to stand – seriously, because I AM passionate. However as a person I am good at advocating for others, but not for myself and I therefore shun publicity.


Aaron Keown
Independent – City First

I am a 42yr old born and bred Cantabrian, married with two children (one with severe allergies). I am currently a member of the CDHB and I’m asking for your vote to continue to advocate for all members of our society. I delivered on my promise of FREE PARKING AT THE HOSPITAL and now we need to keep it and get a lot more of it as we redevelop the new hospital. There was not even a carpark planned for the new hospital site in Chch until I met with Minister of Health Tony Ryall and I raised this directly and it was included in the next design and now the latest design has a fantastic carpark design. In the next term I would like to establish a contestable fund for health related programs and groups to seek funding for the betterment of our communities. Another health prevention measure will be the establishment of a fund for the promotion of cycling in Canterbury as we rebuild a sustainable city and region. I also support the establishment of more community gardens like the one we built at the St Albans community facility on Colombo St. Finally, LETS KEEP RURAL HEALTH SERVICES RURAL. Any questions please contact me: or 021822766 I am always willing to listen and advocate for you.


Robin Kilworth

I am a partner in a Financial Services Business and have been an Ashburton District Councillor for 18 years. I will not be standing for the Ashburton District Council in the 2013 election. In standing for election to the Canterbury District Health Board l aim to bring a strong, determined and experienced voice for Health Services without barriers across the entire region of the CDHB.

I have advanced governance, business and advocacy skills and have actively participated in dialogue around models of care. I am very aware of the significant and vital role the CDHB has in the rebuild and eventual growth of Christchurch city. Christchurch is our city for all who live in urban areas, and the regions, and the strength of health services in the city affects all of Canterbury and makes a huge contribution to the health of the South Island.

I am committed to high quality, safe, accessible health services and to health spending on health outcomes with continual improvement in delivery of services. I believe that technology can play an increasing role in making connections between levels of health services and I look forward to wider use of technology between primary, secondary and tertiary levels of care.

ì have been a member of the Ashburton District Health Committee since its inception in 2001. This group was set up under the auspices of the Ashburton District Council to ensure that appropriate services were delivered in the Ashburton area and has made contributions to the CDHB on a wide range of issues.

If elected I will work hard to ensure the good of the whole region is balanced and measured against good governance and accountability. The future requires clear thinking and provision of good health services in every corner of Christchurch and Canterbury.


Margaret McGowen

I believe all people are entitled to excellent health care.

With 40 years’ experience working in the health system as a nurse and midwife in clinical, education and management I have the background, as well as the energy and enthusiasm, to contribute towards better quality health care where patients/consumers come first.

My interests include the promotion of good health by improving community education. Emphasis must be placed on the importance of health and fitness, healthy eating and the dangers of tobacco, illegal drugs and alcohol abuse.

I will work towards improved communication between consumers, the community and hospital health care providers so that referrals are timely, resources are used effectively and with improved outcomes.

Not being affiliated with any political grouping, my commitment is to work for all of the people of Canterbury and our communities, rural and urban, in delivering the best possible health services.


Paul McMahon
People’s Choice- Labour

I am committed to focusing on a long-term, big-picture approach to healthcare, prioritising early intervention and prevention. In particular, I believe focusing more on the first three years of children’s lives is the best use of public money and will have the best outcomes for our society.

My background is in youth mental health and I have worked as a pastor in charge of community development and engagement for a church in Waltham. I currently work for an NGO in east Christchurch helping young people find housing.

I have sat on the boards of a couple of non-profits, have been involved as a volunteer in a variety of organisations and I am coming to the end of my first term on the Spreydon-Heathcote Community Board. I am also the Chairperson of The People’s Choice, the left-leaning local body organisation in Christchurch under whose banner I am standing.

I am a type-1 diabetic and live in Christchurch with my wife and our two little boys, one of whom has been diagnosed with a chronic neurological disorder. We are personally familiar with the health system and the needs of families.

I am grateful for the high quality health professionals we have in Canterbury and committed to constructive engagement with staff at every level. I support all CDHB staff and contractors being paid a Living Wage.

I am committed to working towards seeing all the recommendations of the Caring Counts report being implemented, to ensure that those who care for our parents and grandparents in their old age are adequately trained and compensated.

My priority would be to look at how resources can best be directed towards what the evidence says works: health promotion, reducing health inequalities, illness prevention and affordable primary healthcare.

0211841072 / 033592669 /


Chris Mene

Kia ora, Talofa lava and Greetings

I am thankful to the many family, friends and colleagues who are supporting me with this opportunity to have a stronger voice for Child and Youth health, Public Participation and systems transformation on the Canterbury District Health Board (CDHB).

I am a current serving CDHB board member and currently working as a Director and Facilitator with and across significant projects and programmes of work in the transformation of Greater Christchurch. Most of my current work is in and across health, education, local government and social services systems.

For the past five years I have been working as a project manager and facilitator in the Canterbury Health System. Through 2011-2012 I was the General Manager of the Canterbury Community Pharmacy Group with responsibilities of supporting Canterburys Pharmacy network to respond to the Earthquakes and begin service transformation across Canterbury.

I have more than 20 years experience in community relations and stakeholder engagement and I am a member of the International Association of Public Participation ( and Project Management Institute of New Zealand

Current and recent service on community and company boards/committees includes:

  • Shirley Papanui Community Board (Chairperson)
  • Sport Canterbury (Trustee)
  • Wayne Francis Charitable Trust (Advisory Trustee)
  • CPIT Bachelor of Applied Science (Advisory member)
  • Papanui Toc-H Athletics Club (President)
  • Stopping Violence Services Canterbury Inc. (Deputy Chair)

I offer you diverse experiences and knowledge from government, business, community and philanthropic sectors.

Thank you for considering me as a candidate for the CDHB. More information is available on the Vote website below.


David Morrell

A member of the District Health Board for several years, I’m probably better known for my years as Christchurch City Missioner which showed me that health is unevenly distributed. I remain committed to more accessible and affordable services. Early training in Porirua Hospital showed me the needs of the mentally ill. As recent chair of Brackenridge, I’ve worked to improve intellectual disability services.

I chair the Health Board’s Hospital Advisory Committee overseeing hospital services and facing the challenges posed by increasing services – as a previous hospital chaplain here, I’m aware of the demands on staff.

I am thoroughly committed to developing the health system, redeveloping Christchurch and Burwood Hospitals and improving aged care.

It has been a particular satisfaction to participate in the huge chages that have occurred and are still occurring at the CDHB. I am keen to support clinical and management staff as they continue to work together to develop our health services to the point where they are generally recognised as the best in the country. This is quite achieveable despite the quakes and I consider they already are. It has also been a rare privilege to be part of the local health system as it has responded to the greatest challenges it has ever faced.

I work hard and believe I offer a rare mix of skills and experience in facing health challenges presented by the quakes, and the contradictions in optimising health dollars in these difficult times.


John Noordanus

Over the last 32 years I have worked in the disability and mental health sectors in both Christchurch and Queensland. First hand I have seen the difficulties that individuals with disabilities face when accessing healthcare.

For 14 years I worked with the Queensland Government in managing and administering disability funding programs. In my previous job, I was the Regional Manager for Queensland’s largest non-forprofit organisation. In my youth I trained as a Psychopaedic Nurse and worked in various psychiatric and general hospitals in Christchurch, Adelaide, and Queensland, and gained a degree in Disability majoring in Acquired Brain Injury.

Currently I am a Service Manager with NZCare Group, which is a service of Health Care Holdings Ltd, New Zealand’s largest private healthcare provider.

I live with my partner Xiaolan and two teenage boys in Avonhead. In my spare time I enjoy mountain biking and gardening and am a member of the Christchurch Chinese Church. I grew up in Redwood and my family has been very active in the local community for over 55 years supporting refugees and advocating for community improvement.

I am cognisant that our health services will continue to be challenged to provide innovative and expedient support to the community.

Key Issues and Trends:

There are many key Issues and Trends that we are experiencing and your ideas, experiences and mine will ensure that we can work together – me as your elected representative and you as my driver. The issues and trends which I am particularly interested and experienced first hand in are:

  • Supporting the growing aging population and responding to the associated challenges;
  • Mental Health and addiction issues;
  • Interface between disability and mental health services

As an elected representative, I will:

  • Listen and work in partnership with community groups and organisations that support innovative and alternative models of support for individuals who require support that does not necessarily rely on a health system that has traditional centralised responses.
  • Attend all health board meetings and contribute productively to the mandate of the role and its strategic direction;
  • Support hospital management in the good work they do to ensure we provide a premium health service to our community.
  • Provide open and transparent opportunities for you to contact me to share your concerns, so that we can join the dots between all the work streams.

Heather Symes
The People’s Choice – Labour

I have worked as a nurse for 26 years in both public hospitals and in mental health, with significant involvement in the NZ Nurses Organisation, and the National Council of Women.

My commitment is to put patients first when making decisions and to bring my practical experience as a nurse to the board table.

I am passionate about improving the health of the most vulnerable in our community, our new born, children, those with disabilities and the elderly, and with better integration between our hospitals and community health services.

Rural health and mental health services have often been neglected and will be priority areas for me in rebuilding our health services in Canterbury.

If you share my vision for improving the quality of our health services in Canterbury, then please give me your preference number 1 vote.


Steve Wakefield

I am Steve Wakefield and I am pleased to be standing for the Canterbury District Health Board.

CDHB is a very large, complex health services organisation. It needs strong financial and professional skills to provide effective governance to ensure funding is spent efficiently and in the right areas. I am pleased to step forward to serve the people of Canterbury in this important role.

I am a Chartered Accountant with over 30 years of experience working with large and complex organisations. I am a senior partner in Deloitte, which is one of the largest accounting and business consulting firms here in NZ and around the world.

CDHB also needs people who have a big heart for our community, and a belief in service to the community. I have demonstrated this with my service to CERA, YHA, The Court Theatre, church, and sports administration.

CDHB has many challenges, including providing high quality, efficient health services, and a $500 million rebuilding programme. Successful delivery will be difficult and risky, so needs strong governance. I can bring this to the Board with my experience in business consulting, on other boards, and recognition in 2012 as the NZ Chartered Accountant of the Year.

CDHB is one of the largest employers in the city and one of the largest DHB’s in NZ. It has a large and highly trained staff team that need to be supported in the delivery of a complex array of services that are responsive to the health needs of our region. There is never enough money in the health system to do all that our community would like, so the board must ensure that the systems and processes in place are able to deliver the most health services possible at the best quality.

Candidates for the Health Board are welcome to supply higher resolution photographs for use on this webpage or to correct errors that may have arisen during the formatting of the text. If there are any candidates standing but not included on this page please email 

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About belinda

Involved with St Albans Community Resource Centre and NeighbourNet since 1997
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