Dunedin North MP David Clark today takes two hospital rebuild petitions to Parliament: an online petition signed by 4832 people requesting the Government rebuild Dunedin Hospital, and a paper-based petition with 3350 signatories calling on the Government to begin construction work on the Dunedin Hospital rebuild before the election in September.
"The petition calling on the Government to begin the Dunedin Hospital rebuild before the election is the most important because it is paper-based, and unlike online petitions convention requires that it be referred to and properly considered by a Parliamentary select committee,” David Clark said.
"The Committee has powers to initiate an inquiry, call witnesses and produce a report if it chooses.
"Overseas examples make it clear that planning for a rebuild can happen in short order when the political will exists.
"Years have passed since the Government first committed to the rebuild of Dunedin Hospital. Before the 2014 general election, I asked then - Minister of Health Tony Ryall when a decision would be made about the Dunedin Hospital rebuild. He said he expected the issue to be decided when a business case went to Cabinet towards the end of that year.
"To date, no business case has been produced. Unbelievably, the promise of a full business case is now further away than it was in 2014 — when I first grew concerned about delays. Recently we were told that Dunedin people should expect an ‘initial business case’ mid-year this year, and a fuller business case in mid-2018.
"That is simply not good enough.
"Politicians of all stripes agree that a Dunedin Hospital rebuild needs to happen, but unfortunately the Government has been dragging its feet on committing to timeframes and capital.
“Dunedin people are smart enough to see through the excuses, and petition the Government to commit to beginning construction before this year's general election," David Clark said.