Dunedin hospital rebuild

Last week National announced a schedule for rebuilding the Dunedin Hospital, parts of which are in a very poor state. Rain leaks into the operating theatre, and asbestos in ceilings of the clinical services block means that new cabling can’t be run.

Dr Coleman made the announcement with Prime Minister Bill English at Dunedin Hospital today.

“The Government is committed to ensuring the people of Dunedin and the wider Southern community receive quality hospital care,” Dr Coleman says.

“We have been assessing the options around refurbishing the existing site and building a new hospital. The decision has been made to rebuild.

“This would maximise the opportunity of having a purpose-built, state-of-the-art facility, while also minimising disruption to patients and staff.

“Given the scale of the project it is estimated to cost between $1.2 billion – $1.4 billion, making it the largest hospital rebuild in New Zealand history.

“The original plan was to simply rebuild the services block, but the indicative business case has determined that the ward block also needs replacing and that has increased the cost significantly from the original $300 million estimate.

“The Ministry of Health is working to secure an appropriate site for the new hospital, with a strong preference for a central city location. Depending on the location the new hospital will be opened in 7 – 10 years.

Promises of rebuilding had been staggering along for years, and this announcement says it will be 7-10 years before a new hospital is finished – unless there are further delays.

“Given the size of the project the Government will consider all funding options including a Private Public Partnership model.

“We are also taking steps to support the existing Dunedin Hospital while the rebuild takes place with an extra $4.7 million being invested into the Interim Works programme, taking the fund to $27.2 million.

The Indicative Business Case for Dunedin Hospital can be accessed here.

There were protests at the hospital for this announcement, and some of those protesting came back yesterday to cheer Jacinda Ardern for a Labour pledge.

Dunedin Hospital to start in Labour’s first term

Labour will start construction on a new Dunedin Hospital in the city centre in Labour’s first term, says the Leader of the Opposition Jacinda Ardern.

“We will build the new hospital without a Public Private Partnership (PPP) and it will be rebuilt within existing funds.

“This is a project that is long overdue for Dunedin. The hospital at present is dangerous and unsafe for staff and patients. Most of the existing buildings would not survive a severe earthquake.

Dunedin is one of the lowest risk areas for earthquakes in the country.

“Things are so bad that at the moment operations have to be delayed because of the leaks when it rains. Dunedin Hospital is no longer fit for purpose.

“There is enough money in the Government’s capital spending allowance to build the hospital without a PPP.

Good for Dunedin, but that must mean $1-1.5 Billion of the capital spending allowance won’t be available for other things.

“Labour will not build on the Wakari site but we want a central city site for the new hospital.

That’s good, Wakari is too far away from downtown Dunedin, but stating this means the price of available land may go up.

“With Labour’s approach we will have a new hospital as soon as possible and we will immediately form a group around the Southern DHB, the Ministry of Health, the Dunedin City Council, the Otago Regional Council and the University of Otago to agree on a vision for this hospital.

Another working group!

“We pledge that Dunedin Hospital will be rebuilt so that the people of Otago can get the healthcare they deserve,” says Jacinda Ardern.

National have sort of pledged the same. But Labour are significantly in front on this. The hospital rebuild, and standards of health care, and food supplied from Auckland, have all been contentious issues in Dunedin.

Labour should hold both their seats – especially with a sampaign like this:

It won’t be rebuilt ‘now’ by either Labour or National. It will take years to get started – they don’t even know where they will build the new hospital yet.

But Labour are very much on the front foot here, and National really don’t seem to put much priority on Dunedin.


  1. chrism56

     /  August 26, 2017

    To build a new hospital in a relatively short time (assuming there are the trades staff available which is doubtful), the new hospital would need to be on a different site to the existing one. I don’t know Dunedin well enough to comment, PG, but how easy is it to get the land to build a new hospital in central Dunedin? Google Earth indicates that there is a relatively undeveloped block NE of the current hospital between Great King and Gowland Streets, especially if they could close those three streets. Is this block earmarked for something or could it be acquired easily? The city council has previously seemed pretty anti-development. Would they and public opinion allow a rapid development?

  2. Patzcuaro

     /  August 26, 2017

    It is poor that the hospital, which is base for one of our medical school, has been allow to fall into such a state. Rain leaking into the operating theatres, that is third world.

    I was listening to Coleman on Radio NZ the other day and he was talking about changing depreciation rates to help reduce the operating surplus at the DHBs. To produce budget surpluses they have held spending on health and education.

    Now the government is having to offer financial incentives to lure teachers to Auckland & Queenstown. In reality what we need is higher wages for teaches to attract and retain the right people. Surely the aim should be to produce healthy well educated children that can become productive adults.

    At the moment it seems to be more about keeping taxes down – nobody wants to pay tax but everybody wants all the services they pay for.

  3. Kitty Catkin

     /  August 26, 2017

    What is the objection to having privately owned health services in Buller-and why on earth do people think that this healthcare will be 3rd world standard ? This seems highly unlikely.

  4. lurcher1948

     /  August 26, 2017

    FOLKS this is how you get a surplus, cut back don’t spend but have a flag referendum costing $26000000, New Zealand YOU ARE STUFFED