Early business case approved by Cabinet

Pete Hodgson
Pete Hodgson
Planning for the new Dunedin hospital has passed a milestone, with the Cabinet approving the first phase of the project’s detailed business case.

Approval leaves the way clear for the Southern Partnership Group, which is steering the $1.4 billion project, to focus on master site planning, SPG chairman Pete Hodgson said.

"We will be asking Cabinet for a lot of money, and Cabinet will be expecting a commensurately comprehensive business case," Mr Hodgson said.

"We will now tuck it away for a few months, then dust it off at the conclusion of phase two, and update it just before we go to Cabinet to seek the formal investment decision in the first half of next year."

Buying the land for the new hospital is continuing at arm’s length  from the SPG, but a major chunk of the  site - the old Cadbury factory - has already been bought by the Government.

While that process continued, the SPG was working on master-site planning, Mr Hodgson said.

"The master-site planning will be completed at the end of October," he said.

"We will then have a better idea of what building goes where, as well as any bad and good impacts that those buildings will have on the neighbourhood and on each other.

"That will in turn mean that when it comes time for planning approval we will be able to offer a well-informed and accurate case."

Mr Hodgson has previously called for more local construction workers to be trained, with an estimated 800-850 people needed for four to five years, along with 200 ancillary staff.

Work was under way to try to make that happen, he said.

"We have been engaging with quite a large sample of local construction industry players in recent weeks.

"There is a sense that if we do a bit of planning well in advance, and we access a bit of help available from Government, we might be able to significantly reduce our reliance on imported labour."

A workforce planning seminar would be held next month, Mr Hodgson said.

mike.houlahan@odt.co.nz

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