Open Letter to the Muscular Dystrophy Association of NZ

It has been over a month now since the AGM, and as yet I still haven’t had any communication from anybody at the association regarding why Chris Higgins left prior to my statement or why Heather Browning didn’t answer any of the questions myself, and others, put to the National Council in the statement.

Let’s just overlook the cost of travel it took for me to get to the AGM from my home city of Hamilton and the hard work I did to prepare the statement.

The way the ending of the meeting was handled in particular by the CEO and the National Council chairperson was unacceptable.

The way Chris Higgins handled the situation was poor, and if this association stands by their claims that they have nothing to hide in terms of their finance expenditure, and that my reports are false, then why didn’t anyone front me that night?

Why would Chris Higgins, the CEO of the MDA, be so intimidated by all this that he couldn’t stand up that night and challenge me? Why was Chris trying to find out who my sources were the morning of the AGM?

In the views of many sources I am working with, Chris has a history of burying his head in the sand about issues crucial to the financial wellbeing of the association.

The excuse that it wasn’t the right time or place for such an open discussion in front of the membership is also beside the point and cannot be used as an excuse by either Chris or National Council.

Chris Higgins has already proved that he has no issues in becoming verbally abusive in front of others.

Don’t believe me? Ask the Jenkin family or seek the evidence which I personally handed to National Council.

There seems to be so many instances from the so-called leaders at MDA that have had a lot of people concerned.

The CEO has verbally abused members of the association and branch staff, and in one case, even evidence of an apology for this.

As I expressed at the AGM in my statement, I stand by all my reporting on this issue.

Wouldn’t it also benefit the members to know the reasons as to why the association posted a deficit of over $300,000, or the financial category ‘other’ in the report breakdown that shows a deficit of over $100,000.

The final thing I would like to address in this open letter is the situation surrounding social media.

As I understand it, the Northern branch (and potentially the other branches) have been instructed by Chris Higgins and national office to remove any content I post on Facebook.

This includes all the articles, but more interestingly, all comments made by the membership as well.

Back in April, national office labeled my reports and comments made by the members on those as electioneering.

It was Liz Mills and the Wellington branch that were electioneering when they sent out the email that encourages the members to vote a certain way prior to the NC elections.

My reports haven’t been electioneering.

This is just another attempt by national office and Chris Higgins to move the public interest into another direction and away from where it needs to be.

Lastly, I would like to encourage all of those few members who have had the bravery to ask questions of MDA, Chris Higgins, and the National Council, I encourage and ask you all to continue.

Change isn’t easy, but the ones who are crazy enough to attempt change, are usually the ones who bring about change.

And finally, taking my journalist hat off for a moment.

I now address Chris Higgins personally.

I am utterly disgusted in the treatment you have dished out to certain members. My sources and I are continuing to work to bring it to the ear of the membership the truth. That truth being, you have lied to countless people in this association.

I am far from finished on this.

Michael Pulman

1 comment

  1. Well done Mike!!! What a really good letter that sums up the situation. Since I have been the chairman of the Canterbury branch, Chris has been really impossible to deal with. I was under the impression that we are all on working off the same page, with the same goals and aims. This is obviously not the same with him. I can’t speak to Chris without my blood pressure rising. The state of the MDA Finances and the lack of communication is very disturbing. The national office which is the public face of the organisation, appears to be dysfunctional in more ways than one. Regards Paul Arthur MDAC Chair Sent from Windows Mail


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