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NZAF BOARD: Official statement on meeting outcome

Thu 28 Jul 2005 In: HIV

Press release: 27 07 05 NZAF Board affirms its commitment to community input in constitutional debate On Saturday 23 July the NZAF Trust Board met to consider the developments since the Board issued its proposed Governance changes re the Treaty of Waitangi and the composition of the Board, and its subsequent withdrawal of that proposal.The Board agreed that: - Clive Aspin step down as chair, but remain on the Board. - Simon Robb be appointed as Board Chair and Hoani Jeremy Lambert as Deputy Chair. The Board of the New Zealand AIDS Foundation accepts that its processes in putting forward the Governance proposals were flawed. The Board has learned from this. The Foundation's members and communities have the Board's assurances that it remains deeply committed to the mission, purpose and objectives of the NZAF, which are to prevent the spread of HIV and support those living with and affected by HIV and AIDS. The Board also acknowledges that gay and other men-who-have-sex-with-men still represent more than 80% of HIV infections that occur within New Zealand. It has never lost sight of that, and its commitment to this community will remain an important focus of its deliberations. While the Board accepts that its process for debating the governance issues was undesirable, the debate has raised awareness of weaknesses in the current constitution of the New Zealand AIDS Foundation. These include: - whether it is right that the Board should, by 75% vote, have the power to change the constitution without reference to a vote by members. - the issue of partnership with Maori and the Treaty of Waitangi. the composition of the Board; on what basis should that be decided and clarification of the skills-based criteria for selecting Board members? - issues of tenure re Board members – is two years with right of renewal for two years enough to ensure continuity of knowledge and the retention of expertise? These are questions which cannot, and should not, be tackled lightly or quickly. The Board is, therefore, committed to a process that will allow key stakeholders and the Board time to address these issues without impacting on the primary role of the Board and the Foundation, which is to concentrate on the issues of HIV and AIDS. The consultation process will be developed by the Board and NZAF staff together with input from key stakeholders externally. This approach recognises the knowledge and expertise of staff, particularly with respect to their stakeholder communities and the governance responsibilities of the Board. One of the good things to have come out of this debate is that it has affirmed to the NZAF Board that there is a great deal of passionate concern for HIV AIDS issues in the community and support for the work the operational arm of the NZAF does. The Board hopes to take advantage of this support by ensuring that staff and community input will be engaged at all levels as it decides how to work through the issues that have been raised. A timetable for this process will be announced shortly, with a view to consultation meetings commencing with NZAF staff in September, and meetings with the wider community soon after that. Simon Robb Chair NZAF Board of Trustees NZ AIDS Foundation - 28th July 2005    

Credit: NZ AIDS Foundation

First published: Thursday, 28th July 2005 - 12:00pm

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