Dean declines to speak at Oamaru Health Rally
Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean chose not to speak at the Oamaru Health March on Sunday 5 July.
The MP was listed to speak at Sunday's rally organised by Oamaru's mayor Gary Kircher on proposed funding cuts to the Waitaki District Health Board, but early Saturday the MP said developments since had caused her to withdraw.
"Subsequent to my agreement to speak I became aware an Opposition MP, David Clark, had been refused the opportunity to do likewise. His request was turned down by rally organisers on the premis they didn't want to turn the rally into a political event.
"As far as I'm concerned if you invite one MP to speak you invite all. You can't have an apparent shutdown of dissenting voices at a public rally. It's not democracy.
"The cutting of five percent from the service's budget is an important local issue but everyone has a right to speak on this. Therefore, I kindly declined the offer made to me.
"I did however, attend the rally and continue to show my support for Oamaru Hospital's staff and management and for the newly appointed board commissioners. I'd also point our it's not the commissioner's role to attend rallies. In my view it would be inappropriate for them to do so. Their job is to evaluate and rectify the situation the Southern District Health Board now finds itself in."