by Jeanette Fitzsimons

The long-running question of whether the new Christchurch hospital will run on coal or wood waste is still not resolved, but seems to be heading back to coal. See my blog A tale of two hospitals from March 2016.

Every new coal installation is a blow against the climate and it is particularly ironic that a government agency charged with keeping people well seems to be about to install a boiler that will increase respiratory and other illness.

This is a decision not of the Canterbury District Health Board, but of the Ministry of Health, so on September 9 CANA wrote to the Director General of Health, Mr Chai Chuah, and to Dr Stewart Jessamine, acting director of public health, pointing out that this is a not just an engineering decision, but a question of public health policy which runs contrary to international agreements they have signed to put health first in all decisions, and which could damage people’s trust in our health authorities. More than six weeks later we have had no reply or acknowledgement.

Today we are bringing the matter to the attention of other ministry staff and making our letter public. Staff arriving at work at the Wellington offices will be given a flier that directs them to our letter that is posted below. It sets out the evidence and our reasoning to avoid this dangerous fuel.

CANA’s open letter to the Ministry of Health.