Waikato DHB media release

30 May 2019

28 May 2019


Deputy commissioners appointed for Waikato District Health Board

Waikato DHB’s new commissioner Dr Karen Poutasi has today announced the appointment of her three deputy commissioners - Dr Andrew Connolly, Chad Paraone and Prof Margaret Wilson.


Dr Connolly is a general and colorectal surgeon at Middlemore Hospital and a former chair of the Medical Council of New Zealand. Chad Paraone holds various roles including Māori Health Director for research partnership Precision Driven Health and a strategic advisor to the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC). Prof Margaret Wilson was previously deputy chair of the Waikato DHB and has served as a Minister of the Crown and the Speaker of the NZ Parliament.


Dr Poutasi was appointed to the commissioner role on 7 May by Health Minister Dr David Clark.


She said: “I’m pleased to have such experienced and respected deputies supporting me in my role. Dr Connolly’s clinical expertise, along with Prof Wilson’s public policy experience and Mr Paraone’s health sector experience and depth of knowledge of Tikanga will be invaluable as we work to bring about the changes needed to improve this DHB’s performance.


“Ken Whelan will remain in his role as crown monitor which will provide continuity. Having Prof Wilson on the team, as a previous Ministerial appointee to the DHB will also help with continuity.


“I believe if we focus on working with our partner organisations in the community to improve the wellbeing of our people, providing quality services to our patients and getting our finances on a sustainable pathway, we can turn this DHB around.”


Dr Poutasi has spent the last three weeks meeting DHB staff and key stakeholders around the Waikato including the Iwi Māori Council, a co-chair of the DHB’s Consumer Council and primary health care organisations.


As well as working with staff to prepare the budget for 2019/20, which is due to the Ministry of Health by the end of June, Dr Poutasi has restarted the recruitment process for a permanent chief executive for the DHB.


Applications for the role closed on Friday and Dr Poutasi has been impressed by the calibre of the people who have applied.


“We have drawn up a shortlist and will be interviewing shortly. I am confident of being able to appoint a permanent chief executive very soon, to bring certainty and focus to the DHB.”


Dr Poutasi said she intends to hold some of the commissioners’ meetings in public. Further information about these will be available soon.


About the deputy commissioners:


Dr Andrew Connolly

Dr Connolly is a former chair of the Medical Council of New Zealand.  He was appointed as Middlemore Hospital’s first specialist colorectal surgeon in 1997, and is currently head of their general and vascular surgery department. He was awarded the New Zealand Order of Merit Member (MNZM) in 2019 for services to health. He has served on various national committees, including chairing the Ministerial Review of the Impact of the Elective Waiting Times Policy. He is an honorory associate professor at the University of Auckland.


Chad Paraone (Te Aupōuri, Ngāi Tahu)

Mr Paraone is a senior level executive with almost 30 years’ experience in the health sector. He has held major positions and led significant projects in primary care, Māori development, population health, and strategic planning, amongst other areas.  He has worked with government entities, such as the Ministry of Health, ACC, District Health Boards, and the earlier Health Funding Authority, as well as numerous private and non-government organisations, including Māori health providers and Primary Health Organisations (PHOs). His experience includes primary care initiatives in the Waikato and Midland region, and he is actively involved in Māori health development.


Professor Margaret Wilson

Prof Wilson was deputy chair of the Waikato DHB. She has a background in public policy and the law and has held public office as a Minister of the Crown and the Speaker of the NZ Parliament. She has served on public boards including the Reserve Bank, the Law Commission and the National Advisory Council on the Employment of Women. Recently she was the chair of the Independent Panel Process that reported on terms of settlement for the Nurses and DHB Collective Agreement. She is employed part time at the University of Waikato.