20 Oct 2008

Health board rejects association's beer criticism

8:46 pm on 20 October 2008

The Otago Public Health Association has been told to find more important things to worry about after criticising its district health board for offering free beer to New Zealanders in London.

The association says it is bizarre for a health board to offer alcohol as part of its recruitment drive to entice health workers home.

But Otago District Health Board chairman Richard Thomson says Saturday night's meeting at a Speights bar in London was a chance for New Zealanders to meet in a familiar place to talk about jobs on offer in Otago and Southland.

The Otago District Health Board says a health association needs to get off its high horse about its offer of free beer to New Zealand health workers in London.

The board's recruitment plan included offering one free beer to the first 100 people who met board representatives in a London bar on Saturday.

Mr Thomson believes that if the initiative were held in a restaurant rather than a local bar, no one would have noticed the event.

The health association says offering a free beer is not the problem, rather the board's connection with an alcohol company.