Independent Rural Women NZ member, Libby Jones, is standing for the Northland District Health Board director position. She is currently an elected member of Northland DHB, since being elected in 2010.
What inspired you to put your hand up for local body politics?
In have spent a lot of the last 15 years since having children involved in the local rural community in a variety of organisations. I have been on the local primary school board of trustees as chair for many years, and this has given me an interest in governance. I have since joined the high school board. My professional health social work background meant that my interest in local government is with people and health, so the district health board fitted well.
Has being a Rural Women NZ member influenced your decision to stand?
I am a relatively new Rural Women NZ member and am keen to support other rural women getting involved in local politics. Being a rural woman certainly gives a keener understanding of community issues, and the ability to work out solutions that may not be obvious to others.
What do you see as the most important qualities for a DHB member?
Ability to listen to all points of view and to be confident to express your view even if it seems different to others. Ask questions and have a perspective that looks at all the stakeholders, not just some. Have integrity and be professional. Have clarity around the purpose and role of governance, which is looking at the big picture, not the day to day management.
1. Community – unemployment. Lack of economic development. Economic sustainability of farming and difficulty for young people to get into farm ownership.
2. DHB – ageing population and associated costs of health care; increase in chronic illness – diabetes, heart disease; preventable illnesses in children and young people – respiratory disease, rheumatic fever, dental decay, teen suicide.
If you could change one thing affecting your rural community during your term in office, what would it be?
Increase the physical and emotional well-being of the region’s young people.
What achievement are you most proud of during your first term in office?
The reduction in waiting times for surgery and specialist appointments and the increased focus on health promotion and illness prevention.
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