Release: Govt quietly downgrading hospital builds

The Government needs to be transparent about the cuts they are making to hospital infrastructure, so that cities are clear on the health resources they will have into the future.

As at September 2023, the Infrastructure and Investment Group (IIG) within Health New Zealand was responsible for over 110 health infrastructure projects worth a total of $7.7 billion. These projects are in various phases of completion and included the new Dunedin Hospital. Large hospital rebuilds were planned for Nelson and Whangarei.

“The Government set aside a mere $103 million in the budget to cover all capital cost pressures across multiple projects – costs that arise due to inflation. This does not look like a Government committed to completing an adequate Dunedin Hospital on time, let alone hospitals in other regions,” said Labour associate health spokesperson Tracey McLellan.

“In Dunedin, which was the largest capital project underway in New Zealand, National promised additional theatres, and hospital space, but these have not been funded. He has broken his promise.

“In last week’s scrutiny hearings, Minister Reti was unable to answer for the $1.1 billion for the Nelson Hospital rebuild, which would have been allocated over six-phases. In fact, there was no spend for Nelson Hospital in this Budget, and nothing set aside for 2025 or 2026 either.

“These projects were planned under Labour to meet clinical expectations – downsizing or shedding parts of the builds is simply not good enough – the buildings won’t be fit into the future.

“And on Whangarei Hospital, Minister Reti is silent. By his own admission, the upgrade is desperately needed, and was being scoped under Labour, but Minister Reti has failed to name an ongoing funding source for Whangarei or Nelson hospitals.

“The Government is building a case to land Labour with the blame for the projects they themselves are reducing. New Zealand deserves better than this backwards government, who will give billions to landlords in tax breaks but won’t build a hospital to serve taxpayers.

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