Wānaka Sun       

Local man stands for SDHB ‘just for the health of it’

Posted at 6:00am Thursday 15 Aug, 2019 | By Allison McLean journalist@thewanaksun.co.nz

A Tarras man has raised his hand to stand for one of the more challenging jobs in health governance: sitting on the Southern District Health Board (DHB). Graham Clarke said he aims to bring his health ideas, new energy and fresh perspectives on disease prevention to the board. He is one of 13 people putting their hat in the ring for the four available seats on the Otago constituency within this year's local body elections.

Clarke, who has lived and worked in Otago his entire life, told the Wanaka Sun he is standing ‘just for the health of it.' 

“The DHB needs a new recipe which includes a focus on wellness, fresh blood and a new brave strategy.” He said the government's wellness budget is a clear reminder that we need to “invest in the things which keep us well or help us to heal. It is no longer sustainable to go on treating illness without addressing it's underlying causes. It is vital to address our health needs in the decades ahead, not to look back on the DHB's past challenges. Assuming we want to change the current trajectory — of illness and increasing the proportion of GDP being spent in health — we might like to find ways to support people to make the necessary dietary and lifestyle choices to avoid illness, such as type two Diabetes.”

Clarke, a former organic farmer in Waipahi, recently qualified as a certified health coach and runs a small support team in the disability sector in Wanaka. 

“The key reason health governance is challenging is because there is little balance between spending to prevent illness and treating illness, much of which is preventable,” said Clarke. “Preventing chronic disease through effective education, improved nutrition and primary health, starting at home, will save us millions that can then be re-invested in accessible acute care, which our district needs.”

By the time this article went to print, the confirmed Southern DHB candidates for the Otago constituency were: Shanon Arnold, Bob Barlin, Jason Bauchop, Ilka Beekhuis, John Chambers, Graham Clarke, Dave Cull, Gordon Dickson, Lyndell Kelly, Malcolm Macpherson, Lyndsay Rackley, Peter Rodwell and Rob Woodhouse.

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