Hundleby on gardening leave from ministry, amid scrutiny of his work

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17 July 2018

Virginia McMillan - New Zealand Doctor

Relationships and capital projects are said to be involved in a period of “gardening leave” for a top health official.

New Zealand Doctor could not get a response from the Ministry of Health directly addressing comments in the health sector on the absence from duty of critical projects director Michael Hundleby.

We understand an investigation is under way while Mr Hundleby is on leave.

The ministry would provide no comment today on the existence or not of any investigation. It reiterated one of chief executive Ashley Bloomfield’s comments, published on Wednesday, to the effect that it does not comment about employment matters relating to individual employees.

Mr Hundleby formerly had oversight of DHB performance, then acted as director of the National Health Board, then in 2016 obtained a two-year contract with the ministry in the critical projects role.

Late last year before the two years were up, then ministry chief executive Chai Chuah appointed Mr Hundleby in a permanent capacity, New Zealand Doctor has been told.

Mr Hundleby was the subject of a 2016 complaint from a Canterbury DHB clinician, disputing his version of a meeting about funding. New Zealand Doctor reported this was looked into and dismissed.

Canterbury DHB is understood by some still to be a source of relationship problems between Mr Hundleby and stakeholders, while other people cite capital project work.

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