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“IF YOU DON’T TAKE THE TEMPERATURE YOU CAN’T FIND A FEVER”

Heather Roy and I are an ‘odd couple’. Her intellectual roots are on the libertarian right and mine are on the collectivist left. She was ACT’s health spokesperson in Parliament until 2011 (for a time its deputy leader) and I was a health union leader (Executive Director of the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists). However,…

So much stuffed up by so few: reflecting on 2022

One of former British prime minister Winston Churchill’s best-known quotes came to mind as I reflected on the past year: “Never in the field of human conflict has so much been owed by so many to so few.” He was paying tribute to the enormous efforts made by the fighter pilots and bomber crews to…

When an academic gets it badly wrong over health crisis

As a history student at Canterbury University I did a paper on EP Thompson’s classic social history The Making of the English Working Class. First published in 1963 (I read a 1972 reprint) I was enthralled by it. Reinforced by extensive empirical data, this was largely due to how it sharpened my understanding  of ‘class’,…

Planned care taskforce report: something to weep over?

On 25 October Te Whatu Ora (Health New Zealand) released the report of its taskforce established to devise a plan to clear a backlog of patients waiting months longer than they should for treatment. Establishing the taskforce was in response to both continual media exposure of tens of thousands of people waiting too long for…

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About Me

Ian Powell was Executive Director of the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists, the professional union representing senior doctors and dentists in New Zealand, for over 30 years, until December 2019. He is now a health systems, labour market, and political commentator living in the small river estuary community of Otaihanga (the place by the tide).

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