It is unfair to expect the cash-strapped Southern District
Health Board to find a million dollars to fix leaks at
Dunedin Hospital, Labour health spokeswoman Annette King
Health Minister Tony Ryall should accept responsibility for a
problem he initially denied existed, she said.
''The problem has existed for more than two years.
''Mr Ryall needs to accept some responsibility.
''He initially denied there was a problem, claiming he was
only aware of a one-off leak in 2012.
''However, there had been numerous reports - as I found out
through the Official Information Act.''
This week, health board chairman Joe Butterfield said the
cost of fixing the clinical services building would be at
least $1 million. He did not have the cost estimates, but the
job was significant and would take months.
Ms King said it was unfair to expect the board to find the
money when it was under huge financial pressure.
''Now [Mr Ryall] is sheeting it back to the board to fix
while making tut-tutting noises about how concerned he is.
''Last week's Budget set aside $200 million for capital works
in health. Otago needs some of that.''
Asked to respond, Mr Ryall said Ms King was playing politics.
''I predict we will get even more outrageous comments from
Annette King in the lead-up to the election.
''She was the minister of health for six years and didn't
spend anything on the facilities at Dunedin Hospital,'' Mr
The Government was ''very supportive'' of the SDHB.
''We have lifted their annual funding to a record $833
million - over $120 million more than when we took office.''