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Health Ministry observing Body Positive changes

Sat 21 Nov 2015 In: New Zealand Daily News View at Wayback View at NDHA

The incoming replacement board of Body Positive will have to work to maintain the confidence of its primary funder in the wake of yesterday's vote of no confidence in the existing board which has forced it to step down. Those members who voted in the Special General Meeting chose to dismiss the board by a sizable majority and the outgoing board has pledged to facilitate an orderly hand-over to a newly-elected board. While it is understood the are currently no plans to review the contract through which the Ministry of Health provides significant funding to BP, the Ministry has made it clear that its ongoing confidence in Body Positive's work is based on it continuing to be "modeled on evidence of best practice." In a letter written to the outgoing chair written five days ago a Ministry official warns that "it is important that confidence in the board and the organisation is maintained to ensure the continued delivery of high quality public health funded services." The letter says the MOH is "pleased with the leadership shown by the Executive Director Mark Fisher who has to date satisfactorily executed the contractual expectations as set out in your public health service agreement." Throughout this year Fisher has made it clear to Daily News that his work since he was appointed almost a year ago is totally based on BP's current strategic plan. However, that plan has been one of the bones of contention with the group of members who mobilised against the outgoing board. But it is not entirely clear how much the members' concerns are based on the plan's content and how much on the process through which the plan was created and disseminated to members. The petitioning group, which has voiced many concerns around the closure of the Wellington BP office and the way the board has interacted with the membership in recent times, is likely to have a significant influence on the make-up of the new board to whom Fisher will report. Daily News understands a meeting has already been scheduled between Fisher and the Ministry and that it may take place early this coming week. The outgoing board will convene on December 5th to set in motion the process of standing down and the election of a new board. With the Christmas/New Year break looming and the requirement for a minimum of three week's notice of another Special General Meeting to elect the new board it may be some time into the New Year before the process plays out.    

Credit: Daily News staff

First published: Saturday, 21st November 2015 - 10:14pm

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