With post-graduate qualifications in science, Neil’s early career was focused in the health and disability sector. As associate minister of health, he introduced free healthcare for children under 6 years of age. He also held responsibility for the disability sector and public health.
Neil is currently engaged at Hohepa in Hawkes’ Bay, providing services to people with complex disabilities. Hohepa is a world renowned organisation, offering the leading ID service in New Zealand, Neil says. It is an extraordinary honour to work at Hohepa and to be part of one of the region’s success stories, caring for vulnerable people.
Neil first served on the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council from 2001. During the past two decades, the council has progressively developed a much stronger environmental approach. When I first came onto council, pastoral farming dominated. Attempts to change landuse or limit water use in order to protect the environment were stoutly resisted.