Notice of Motion – membership of the ASC

  • Mark Burton

I move, That pursuant to sections 10 and 11 of the Contraception, Sterilisation, and Abortion Act 1977, this House recommends to His Excellency the Governor-General the appointment of Professor Linda Jane Holloway of Dunedin, Dr Rosemary Jane Fenwicke of Wellington, and Patricia Ann Allan of Christchurch, as members of the Abortion Supervisory Committee; and the appointment of Professor Linda Jane Holloway as Chairman of the Supervisory Committee.

The Abortion Supervisory Committee is constituted under section 10 of the Contraception, Sterilisation, and Abortion Act, and consists of three members, one of who is appointed as chairman. Two of the members must be medical practitioners. They are appointed by the Governor-General on the recommendation of the House of Representatives for a term of three years and may be reappointed.

The Abortion Supervisory Committee has the responsibility of keeping under review all the provisions of abortion law in New Zealand, and the operation and effect of those provisions in practice. That includes licensing institutions for the performance of abortions, and the appointment of certifying consultants to authorise abortions.

The previous members of the Supervisory Committee were Dr Lesley Rothwell of Wellington (Chairman), Dr Papaarangi Reid of Wellington and Marlene Lamb JP of Morrinsville.

I would like to take this opportunity, both on behalf of the Government and of the whole House to thank Dr Rothwell, Dr Reid and Mrs Lamb for the contributions they have made during their terms on the Abortion Supervisory Committee.

The qualities sought in all members of the Committee are that they:

  • be sufficiently impartial and open minded to be able to represent the needs and interests of women in a non controversial manner;
  • be sensitive to the needs of different cultural groups;
  • have good communication skills; and
  • accept a level of public scrutiny.

Also the Chairman should have had previous experience in a leadership role.

The new appointments that are proposed in the motion before the House are of Professor Linda Holloway as a member and Chairman, and Dr Rosemary Fenwicke and Patricia Allan as members of the Committee. All are very capable and will bring a balance of knowledge and experience to the Committee. They will also bring a high degree of integrity to their respective roles as members of the Committee, thus ensuring that the Committee will be able to perform with the required diligence in interpreting the intentions of the legislation.

Professor Linda Holloway, who was previously Pro-Vice Chancellor of Health Sciences at Otago University, was appointed Chairman of the National Health Committee in 2006, having been a member since 2002. She is a specialist anatomical pathologist and at an earlier stage in her career also worked in rural general practice. Her major area of research interest has been respiratory pathology. She has served on the Medicines Assessment Advisory Committee and was one of the advisors to Dame Silvia Cartwright during the inquiry into the treatment of cervical cancer at National Women’s Hospital. She has also been involved in many areas of community work including the Lottery Grants Board Research Distribution Committee and the Medical Women’s Association. She is a Distinguished Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in recognition of a career dedicated to Health Science.

Dr Rosy Fenwicke is a member of the Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal and the Medical Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal. She was the Medical Director of the Central Region for the New Zealand Family Planning Association from 1987-1990. As an on-call doctor for the New Zealand Police and CYFS she assessed victims of sexual abuse. She was also a medical officer at Victoria University’s Student Health Services. Dr Fenwicke also developed a general practice clinic at Waiwhetu Marae in Lower Hutt. She currently works in General Practice in Wellington, at the Level J Terminations Clinic at Wellington Women’s Hospital and also does IAA and rehabilitation assessments for ACC. In 2005/2006 she was the National Medical Officer for the New Zealand Fire Service.

Patricia Allan established her own consultancy business as a facilitator and mentor at the beginning of 2004. For the previous 20 years she had been involved in either church or council funded social service or ministry roles in Christchurch and on the West Coast. Before establishing her current business she worked for the Methodist Church’s Christchurch inner-city ministry and had previously served as the Vicar of Hokitika and as a Diocesan Mission Co-ordinator for the Anglican Diocese of Christchurch. She has held a number of governance roles in the Methodist and Anglican Churches, including as an elected member of the Standing Committee of the General Synod of the Anglican Church of New Zealand, and also as a member of the Board of the McLean Institute, a charitable trust. She was awarded the Queen’s Suffrage Medal for her community work on the West Coast. Ms Allan completed her Registered Nursing qualification in 1960 and also holds a Licentiate of Theology.

I can confirm that an appropriate process has been followed in selecting the proposed new appointees, in terms of the SSC appointment guidelines and in accordance with Cabinet directives.

I can confirm that appropriate enquiries concerning conflicts of interest have been carried out in accordance with SSC appointment guidelines, and that any conflict of interest that could reasonably be identified, would be identified. No conflicts of interest have been identified.

While serving on the Committee, the Chairman or a member must declare to the Speaker any personal or professional interests or associations that might create a conflict with their duties as a member of the Committee. The Speaker then decides on the appropriate course of action.

I recommend that the House adopt Government motion No. 1.