Health battlers decide to wind up Wakatipu Health Trust


The tireless crusaders of Queenstown’s health woes have decided to quit the battle.

Voluntary members of the Wakatipu Health Trust today (Wednesday) announced that they are winding up their charitable organisation after recent recommendations by the National Health Board.

The NHB expert panel last month recommended that a “community reference group” be formed for the Wakatipu to represent the community’s interests to Southern District Health Board.

This new group, led by Queenstown lakes District Council, is currently looking for members.

“Trustees see no need for the community to be represented by two groups championing the same issues,” chairman Craig Benington says.

“This will only create confusion, dilution of effort and potential conflicts. Accordingly, trustees have agreed to wind up the trust, allowing mayor Vanessa van Uden’s group to assume the on-going responsibilities.”

Trustees are Benington, trust founder Maria Cole, GP Dr John Hillock, Wakatipu aged care coordinator Helen Stevens, chiropractor Dr Neki Patel and pharmacist Kristian Summerfield.

WHT – with a mandate to only serve the public’s interests – has been running for more than eight years. During that time it’s raised and spent in excess of $750,000 to improve local public health services.

“A major objective for the trust for the past few years has been achieved with the recent NHB report acknowledging that the Wakatipu has been under-serviced by successive DHBs,” Benington says.

“The NHB has now given clear instruction that this is to be corrected and it is very pleasing for the trust to obtain vindication from the NHB.”

Trustees will work with QLDC to hand over assets and responsibilities.