No money for hospital

David Clark
David Clark
Labour has accused the National Party of compromising the Government’s negotiating position on the Dunedin Hospital rebuild by setting aside no money in the expectation private investors will pay.

National  disclosed this week it had budgeted nothing for the estimated $1.4 billion project because of its intention to agree a public-private partnership (PPP).

Dunedin North MP David Clark said the Government would be at a disadvantage  when negotiating the PPP.

"It does look like they are weakening the negotiating position of the Crown.

"It gives those parties a leveraged negotiating position and potential to get an even worse deal for the Crown."

It was jumping ahead of the process set down by Treasury for considering the merits of individual PPPs, he said.

Dr Clark reiterated the party’s total opposition to a PPP, saying it would not be a good deal for the taxpayer. He  said National list MP Michael Woodhouse told an election forum this week the likely investors were the New Zealand Super Fund, the Accident Compensation Corporation and Ngai Tahu.

It sounded as if talks had already been held with investors "behind the backs of Dunedin residents", Dr Clark said.

When contacted, Mr Woodhouse rejected that, saying he had named likely interested parties, and to his knowledge no talks had been held.

He did not think there would be strong public opposition to a PPP.

"The overwhelming sentiment is people want a world-class facility that’s fit for the future in a timely matter.

"How it’s financed is probably less important to them."

Mr Woodhouse said PPP hospitals that had gone awry overseas involved private investors delivering clinical services, and that was "off the table" in Dunedin.

The investor would maintain the hospital long-term, he said.

"It should be actively explored given the track record that we’ve had in Dunedin [with lack of hospital maintenance]."

Mr Woodhouse said his party had not committed itself to a PPP but was trying to find the best option. Labour’s promise to use public funding meant other infrastructure projects would need to be deferred, he said.

This week, National released a summary of policy costings to provide detail about its spending promises after Labour accused it of being vague on costings.

"The Government has also made some announcements subsequent to the publication of the pre-election financial update.

"The funding for each of these Government announcements is included in Budget 2017 and the Pre-election Economic and Fiscal Update, with the exception of the Dunedin Hospital rebuild, which is intended to be constructed using a public-private partnership," it said.

Dunedin Hospital rebuild governance chairman Andrew Blair declined to comment when contacted.

"You would be best to contact the National Party, who  put out the leaflet," Mr Blair said.

A Treasury media spokesman declined to comment.

eileen.goodwin@odt.co.nz

Comments

Put it this way --- When I am laying on the operating table in agony waiting for my op the last thing I will be worrying about is who paid for the hospital to be built. All mine and most others concerns are is "hurry up and get it built". Anyway if as Labour MP David Clark says there isn't any money set aside for a rebuild, then where would he and/or any future Labour Govt find the funds? Borrow,go with the current plan or maybe just tax the people some more. Come on MP David Clark you are good at criticizing but not too good on telling what you and the taxing Labour Party will do!

That is ridiculous. Pie in the sky when we die.

There have been no decisions on what will be built, where it will be built or how much will be spent.
What we do have is a pre-election fluff promise that sometime someone might built a whole new hospital. Just typical electioneering noise. Why build a whole hospital? Because the government has ignored Dunedin hospital so long it is simply falling apart.
Oh but National have confirmed the continuing drain on SDHB funds by the fly in consultants. Many more years of spongers and commissioners is guaranteed.
And maybe we will get a decision on what the new place will be like just before the election after this.

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