Duncan Garner: The Government must intervene on behalf of Nicky Stevens' parents

Opinion 27/02/2019

By Duncan Garner, host of The AM Show.

To the Waikato DHB - call off your dogs.

I can't believe the lengths the district health board is going to, to make life hell for Dave MacPherson and his wife Jane Stevens.

It's a well-known case - son Nicky Stevens was in a Hamilton mental health unit. He walked out of the unit and took his life, committed suicide.

His parents had warned the doctors that this could happen and that he needed to be kept safe.

He wasn't. The coroner said Nicky's death was totally avoidable, and compensation had been talked about, but - strangely - the DHB pulled the plug on that and has ordered a new high level coronial review into Nicky's death.

His family is aghast. They want compensation to cover costs and move on. Life is hell and is not getting better.

Dave, Nicky's dad, wants to confront the DHB at its public meeting today, but the DHB said it's premature for them to speak. Hardly. The DHB has its head so far either in the sand or up its own backside, it looks seriously out of touch with humanity, with grief, with how much parents love their kids.

They lost their boy. Why make it so hard?

David Clark, the minister, needs to show this Government has made an impact and stop this approach now.

Is the Minister in charge, or is he impotent? Does this treatment meet Labour's new high standards of being "caring and compassionate"?

It's a state witch hunt of a family and Clark must intervene. If he's too wussy, stand aside and give it to someone who will do the right thing.

Duncan Garner is the host of The AM Show.

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