A modest MP’s very private role in events that led to Mark Jacobs quitting the race for a DHB seat

Having chalked up another victory, Alf reckons he should be a member of the Commonwealth Games team in New Delhi.

In fact he is in such damned good form as a modest man of influence, he is confident he has a very good chance of winning gold in the political persuasion event (although he would have an even better chance in the whisky drinking competition).

His victory is the announcement by a top Health Ministry official that he has pulled out of the race for election to Wellington’s district health board.

And so Stuff tells us today –

Mark Jacobs, the Health Ministry’s director of public health, announced yesterday he would no longer stand for Capital & Coast District Health Board – despite earlier insisting he could do both jobs at once.

In his ministry role, he has a direct line of accountability to Health Minister Tony Ryall.

In a statement, Dr Jacobs said public discussion about his candidacy “has indicated to me that if I was elected, some questions would likely continue to be asked about perceived conflicts of interest between the two roles”.

“To avoid the possibility that such questions could detract from my role as director of public health, and the possibility that they could be a distraction for the DHB from its important work … I have decided to withdraw my candidacy for this election.”

Alf is not sure that Jacobs can see a conflict of interest would arise if he held both his public health job and a seat on the board.

He has pulled out, rather, because of the strength of the criticism about a major conflict of interest.

He said that he continued to believe he could have managed any potential conflict of interest.

Alf’s mate Tony Ryall stuck with his policy of saying nothing publicly on the issue and declined to comment.

Alf happens to know what Tony thinks, of course, because he discussed the matter with the Minister as a follow-up to posting an item about the matter in this blog last week and sending the Minister a letter.

Alf won’t tell you what the Minister said, because the conversation was strictly confidential and Alf respects confidences at all times.

But he can tell you he pointed out to the Minister that if this Jacobs feller could do two jobs, then he wasn’t working hard enough at the ministry and should be made redundant.

Moreover, he advised the Minister to look harder at his ministry’s workload, because if one bloke was only doing half a job, then there were bound to be others.

He is sure word of the conversation somehow has passed down the line to Jacobs to prompt him to give up his race for election.

Yes. Another victory.

But Alf has had second thoughts about running in the political persuasion event at the Commonwealth Games.

He is confident he would bring home a gold medal. But he likes his creature comforts much too much to give them up for a couple of weeks in the games village.

The prospect of going down with dengue fever and/or being blown up in New Delhi is somewhat less in Eketahuna, too.

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