DHB chief's $200,000 spending costs to be investigated

A Waikato District Health Board chief executive is being investigated following allegations of wrongful spending.

Health Minister David Clark has directed the State Services Commissioner (SSC) to look into the circumstances. It's one of the first concrete actions the minister has taken in his new role.

Nigel Murray claimed $218,000 in expenses during his three years in the job, including $50,000 for relocating from Canada and $91,500 in the year-to-June.

NZME reports some of the expenditure claimed relates to "costs associated with two Canadian women."

Dr Murray has paid back $30,000 of expenses to the DHB.

Dr Murray resigned from the DHB in early October, and a two-month independent inquiry into his spending was not completed. 

Dr Clark has directed the SSC to look into the circumstance of any alleged unauthorised or unjustified expenditure and any related conduct of Dr Murray, as well as decisions made by the DHB in relation to the spending.

"It is critical that transparency in and accountability for these processes and outcomes is maintained," Dr Clark said.

Dr Deborah Powell from the Resident Doctors' Association says staff at Waikato Hospital have "suffered from a lack of leadership and a lack of governance."