Iwi keen to be involved in hospital development

Pete Hodgson
Pete Hodgson
The South Island's largest iwi has sent a strong signal it wants to be involved with the Dunedin hospital development.

Ngai Tahu says it is interested in being involved in the development of worker accommodation associated with the new hospital.

It would also be interested in making a bid for the old hospital site should the Crown want to dispose of it.

The South Island iwi has said it wants to increase its presence in Dunedin, and recently played a leading role in the establishment of Te Kaika health hub in Caversham.

Pete Hodgson, chairman of the Southern Partnership Group - the organisation managing the rebuild - has previously expressed enthusiasm for bringing Ngai Tahu on board as an investor in developments to house some of the hundreds of workers expected to come to Dunedin to work on the rebuild.

Ngai Tahu Property chief executive David Kennedy said the iwi had been ''active'' in some discussions with Mr Hodgson regarding the planning for the new hospital.

''Ngai Tahu would welcome the opportunity to explore the commercial feasibility for worker housing and other associated projects,'' Mr Kennedy said.

''At this stage, we have not undertaken any preliminary analysis regarding potential housing developments in Dunedin.''

Mr Hodgson said last week he had already met potential investors in hospital construction-related housing schemes, and another meeting would be held later this month.

''We are working closely with the city, and it is early days,'' Mr Hodgson said.

''But we now have a much better idea of likely demand due to university builds, due to this build, but also due to demographic changes in the city and likely changes in housing demand.

''We are now getting good information about what will be needed in terms of residential housing in this town.''

Ngai Tahu said it would also consider making a bid for the current Dunedin Hospital site, if the Crown decided the central city site was surplus to requirements.

Under its Waitangi Treaty settlement agreement, Ngai Tahu has a right of first refusal over certain Crown land in its tribal area, including the site of the existing Dunedin hospital.

On Friday, the Government announced Dunedin hospital would be rebuilt on a new inner city site, a $1billion-plus project expected to be finished in 2026.

Health Minister David Clark said he did not know what the future use of the site would be.

Mr Kennedy said Ngai Tahu Property would consider what potential opportunities the site might provide when it was made aware of a sale process by the Crown, and it would depend on value, zoning, the market and other factors at the time.

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