The father of Nicky Stevens, a patient of Waikato DHB’s Henry Bennett Centre who died while in the DHB’s care in March last year, was today elected to the Waikato District Health Board.

Although final results will not be confirmed for a few days, Dave Macpherson was elected in 3rd place, out of 20 candidates standing in the Waikato-wide DHB constituency, and will certainly hold his seat after special votes are counted.

Mr Macpherson said the news of his election was “a bittersweet moment” for him.

“Of course I’m pleased to be elected, but I would not have thought of standing had it not been for the death of my son under such terrible circumstances, while in DHB care, and my determination to see that other patients and their families are not put in this situation.”

“At this time, our family is thinking mainly of Nicky.”

“His loss still hurts deeply, and we are still appalled at the lack of care the DHB gave him, and the lack of support our family received from the DHB after Nicky’s death.”

“But I am not standing to gain revenge; rather, I am standing to see that things are improved for patients, for their families and for DHB staff in the future.”

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“Mental health services are underfunded, and it is about time the DHB spoke out about this – and put 100% of government funding they do receive into direct mental health services.”

“Complaints channels are bureaucratic nightmares for many patients and families – when they can be found; this has to change.”

“Staff are in many cases overworked and shortchanged in other ways; and do not deserve the appalling attacks management make on them whenever they band together and ask for changes. The DHB Board needs to stick up for them.”

“I see my election as a vote to support these changes.”


  1. Big problem with trying to dump more money into mental health is you are putting more money into a system that is corrupt, abusive and experimenting on people.

    They do not use professional treatment care or rehabilitation models, drugs and drug companies took over our mental health services years ago (I have seen news reports than even admit it).

    Also you are one person and blocked me when I talked about what it is like to be suicidal. It is time for families to step back from control of mental health services and allow PROFESSIONALS and those who are suicidal to develop the services they need.

    Also time to start prosecuting a few of these abusive professionals through the proper channels. Currently you can’t make a comlaint about a mental health professional if you have a mental health issue because you are not believed. I know the justice system well, the reason so many mentally injured and ill people are dying is because complaints are ignored in this area – very sad and very true.

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