Opinion: time to judge govt by their actions, not their promises

The Suzanne Lund Community Loft Apartments, on the waterfront at Steamer Basin, opened earlier this month.

I attended and had the chance to look around.

The apartments were designed and built by local property developer Russell Lund, who transformed areas in the New Zealand Loan and Mercantile heritage building into 30 beautiful social housing units — a much-needed boost to Dunedin’s social housing stock.

It is worth noting while National’s Chris Bishop officially opened the apartments, government funding for the units came from the previous Labour-led government, as part of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funding allocation to the Salvation Army.

This funding is for the initial 15-year lease of the apartments.

Questioned by media following the opening, Mr Bishop was asked about the government’s plans for the new Dunedin hospital.

His response was, "the coalition government remains committed to completing a new hospital for Dunedin".

With the build already out of the ground and several storeys high, this was an easy comment to make.

He would not, however, comment further on what the hospital will look like.

The budget committed no extra funding to the build, despite knowing its pre-election promises would cost upwards of $30 million.

National will not even commit to the status quo of Labour’s build, and I’m concerned they will consider a public-private partnership to fund the build. The project is already far too advanced to review or redesign without significant costs.

It is no surprise some Dunedin city councillors have publicly stated they are considering reigniting the "They Save — We Pay" campaign.

Labour committed to the hospital build in 2017.

National previously only ever talked about building a Dunedin hospital during its last nine-year term while committing zero funding.

Now eight months into its latest term, they still will not commit to the state-of-the-art hospital Labour did.

In addition to the public-private partnerships that benefit large companies, National chose to waste millions on a study into a new medical school in Waikato— one closely linked to former National minister Steven Joyce.

Treasury identified this option as a specific financial risk to the Crown.

The right choice for New Zealand is to finish Dunedin’s new world-class hospital and train more doctors at the University of Otago’s world-class medical school.

Just like National promising to fund 13 new cancer drugs or promising $250 to the average household through tax cuts, National’s track record shows nothing but broken promises.

National will say anything to get your vote — you have to judge them by what they do.