Former AIDS Foundation board chair Clive Aspin came "very close" to leaving the board over fallout from a controversial paper he authored and presented at an international conference in June. Aspin stepped down as chair of the AIDS Foundation at a board crisis meeting last week in Auckland after less than eight weeks in the job. Questions were raised at that meeting over whether Aspin's comments were appropriate in light of his role on the board. Comments in Aspin's paper suggested that stakeholder opposition to a board proposal to impose a 50% Maori quota on the make-up of the NZAF board were racist, and put a question mark over Aspin's confidence in the Foundation itself. Serious discussion was had at last week's board meeting over Aspin's paper, and whether the comments made within it warranted his resignation from the board. "It was very close," new board chair Simon Robb told GayNZ.com. "I think the comments were very unhelpful, and it's not the type of comment that I would expect from a board member." However, Robb says it was felt that Aspin's contribution to the board outweighed any potential fallout from the comments made in the paper, which could be interpreted in a number of ways. "My understanding is that Clive does have confidence in the Foundation, and I'd have difficulty – professionally – to have a board member that didn't have confidence in the Foundation." Robb also confirmed that the Foundation's kaumatua, Henare Te Ua, was not consulted about the board's proposals prior to their announcement, citing ill health as the reason. He is the first person the board is scheduled to meet with as part of a series of bridge-building meetings with staff and other stakeholders which will begin in August.
Credit: GayNZ.com News Staff
First published: Sunday, 31st July 2005 - 12:00pm
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