3 Nov 2017

DHB board chair won't resign over spending

6:30 pm on 3 November 2017

The chair of the embattled Waikato District Health Board, Bob Simcock, is refusing to resign over excessive spending under his watch.

Waikato Hospital

Waikato Hospital Photo: Waikato DHB / Facebook

Details released by the DHB today show the former chief executive, Nigel Murray, racked up a $218,000 expenses bill over three years.

The DHB has refused to disclose details of the full investigation into his spending.

Dr Murray resigned early last month after joining the DHB in mid-2014.

The Health Minister David Clark has asked the State Services Commission to investigate the circumstances surrounding Dr Murray's misspending.

Waikato District Health Board Chief Executive Dr Nigel Murray.

Dr Nigel Murray. Photo: RNZ/ Joanne O'Brien

Mr Simcock agreed it was too much.

"Quite clearly those figures are excessive and that's why we've been having the investigation.

"It's important to remember those figures include amounts that we are seeking repayment of."

He said Dr Murray has repaid $30,000 and is still to reimburse the DHB for up to $50,000 more.

But Mr Simcock said the spending, including $2000 on taxi fares last year, was not his fault.

"You know I don't see every invoice that comes into the organisation. I see the applications that are put in front of me for authorisation, and I authorise things that I believe to be appropriate.

"There is nothing in the recruitment process, there is nothing in our investigatory process, and there is nothing that I believe that I have done over the last couple of years that would justify [his resignation]."

Mr Simcock said he welcomed the Health Minister's call to bring in the State Services Commission.

"I think the clearer that is, the sooner that he can have confidence in what has occurred here - other than obviously Dr Murray's behaviour - the happier we will be as well."

The Association of Salaried Medical Specialists said they warned Mr Simcock against hiring Dr Murray before he was appointed in July 2014.

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