Labour promised Dunedin hospital rebuild start this term, now delayed further

A revised plan to rebuild the Dunedin hospital has been announced. It may be a practical, pragmatic and sensible approach, bringing forward the replacement of an outpatients and day surgery with a new building – but it would mean delaying the rebuild of the new hospital by several years, with completion extending another 2-4 years to 2028-3020. This is not what labour promised last year in the election campaign.

ODT: Hospital rebuild fast-tracked, completion date extended

The headline alone looks like a contradiction.

The Government has fast-tracked part of the new Dunedin Hospital build, but it appears the overall build time will be extended.

Health Minister David Clark announced at midday the hospital would be built in two stages, with an outpatient and day surgery building due to be finished more than three years earlier than anticipated.

The new plan is to open the smaller of the two buildings – the day surgery and outpatient building – in two stages: November 2023 and November 2024.

But the larger inpatient building would be finished five or six years after that, meaning the end of the build would be between 2028 and 2030, rather than the mid-2026 date planned.

Dr Clark said the build would be finished “in about 10 years”.

ODT: Services sooner with split build

Dr Clark said the decision came after “some months of thinking and planning”, and was conditional on Cabinet and budgetary processes being secured.

“The underlying issue is that the existing Dunedin Hospital will not last the distance in its current state.

Some services sooner but hospital several years later – the proposal is to extend the distance substantially.

This is contrary to what Labour promised in last year’s election campaign.

Labour: Rebuilding Dunedin Hospital

All New Zealanders should be able to get the healthcare they need, when they need it. Dunedin Hospital serves 300,000 people in the city and the surrounding regions, but it is no longer fit for delivering modern healthcare to a population with increasing health needs.

For years, Dunedin Hospital has needed to be rebuilt.

The current Government has finally committed to making a decision on the rebuild but Cabinet won’t consider the details until sometime next year and it plans for the new hospital to be up to 10 years away.

A year later and under Labour it is now 10-12 years away.

With Labour’s approach, Dunedin will have a new hospital as soon as possible, and the taxpayer will get the best value for money. Avoiding further delay will minimise costs and mean patients get better care more quickly.

Labour will:

  • commit to beginning construction of the new Dunedin Hospital within our first term

This project is expected to cost $1.4 billion, and will deliver the most modern hospital in New Zealand, ready to serve Dunedin and the Lower South Island for decades to come.

But not for another decade or more.

Jacinda Ardern (25 August 2017): 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.

“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.

“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.

“With Labour’s approach we will have a new hospital as soon as possible…

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

ODT: ‘Significant’ change to hospital rebuild: What you need to know

This doesn’t say when the actual hospital rebuild will start, but implies it will largely be after the outpatients project set to be complete in 2023-2024.

The New Dunedin Hospital will have two main buildings – a large acute/inpatients building and a smaller outpatients/day surgery facility.

Initially it was thought these would be constructed simultaneously but they will now be built separately. The smaller outpatients/day surgery will be built first.

When will they be built?

The outpatients/day surgery building is planned to open in two stages – with target dates set as November 2023 (day surgery) and November 2024 (outpatient clinics). Importantly, all day surgery will open in November 2023.

The acute/inpatients hospital building will follow and will probably open a decade from now. We will know with more accuracy in the New Year.

Previous opening estimates were July 2026 and February 2027

This suggests that “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” is a promise that won’t be kept. The actual hospital rebuild won’t start this term, and may not even start in the next term.

How does improving day surgery help the rest of Dunedin Hospital?

Moving day surgery to a new facility frees up room to enlarge and reconfigure the emergency department and make other changes.

No suggestion that the Hospital itself will be affected much if at all, despite Ardern saying “The hospital at present is dangerous and unsafe for staff and patients…Dunedin Hospital is no longer fit for purpose”.

A hospital rebuild website also has a misleading headline: Hospital building fast-tracked

Health Minister Dr David Clark has announced a significant change in the approach to constructing the new Dunedin hospital.

The larger inpatient building does not have a finish date yet but Dr Clark said he expects it will be complete in about ten years.

“The people of the South have been waiting too long for modern hospital facilities – this plan means they can expect to have modern outpatient and day surgery facilities within five years,” David Clark said.

The larger inpatient building does not have a finish date yet but Dr Clark said he expects it will be complete in about ten years.

The ‘inpatient building’ (basically, the hospital), doesn’t even have a start date yet, despite Labour promising a start this term.

Despite the claimed unsafeness of the existing hospital building the revised plan may be a sensible way to rebuild, but the reality is looking increasingly different to the campaign rhetoric.

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24 Comments

  1. The Consultant

     /  December 9, 2018

    Isn’t the population of Otago, and in particular, Dunedin, slowly declining and aging?

    If that’s the case it might explain why the government is dragging its feet on this “promise”.

    Plus the fact that the area will continue to tribally vote Labour anyway.

    Reply
    • That was the case in the past but not now. Otago (and Southland) populations are increasing.
      The latest estimated resident population figures, released by Stats NZ yesterday, showed Dunedin’s population had jumped by 1900 people, or 1.5%, to 130,700 in the year to June 2018.

      That was on top of a similar increase, of 1800 people, in the previous year, and meant Dunedin’s population has now grown by 7200 people since 2013, the figures showed.

      Even higher growth was recorded in Queenstown-Lakes (up 5.5%), making it the fastest-growing region in the country, and Central Otago (up 3.6%), in the year to June.

      https://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/dunedins-population-tops-130000
      And given that both Dunedin MPs are Labour, and ex-Labour Minister Pete Hodgson is driving the rebuild, then Labour have a lot to lose if they don’t deliver.

      Reply
      • The Consultant

         /  December 9, 2018

        Thanks for that. Interesting. I disagree that Labour have a lot to lose though. Dunedin wouldn’t vote National if their lives depended on it.

        At best they might vote for NZ First as a protest, but only if Winston decided to bang the drum down there, and even then the locals would likely forgive Labour until 2023 or even 2026.

        Reply
        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  December 9, 2018

          Interesting how Dunedin got like that from its Scottish heritage, gold rush and banking wealth.

          Reply
          • Mother

             /  December 9, 2018

            The South got like that largely because the Scots had a vision of ‘free church’, but failed to deliver. They quietly loved money more than God and they didn’t understand the concept of ‘free’. Free to them was to be so amazing/untouchable/talented that everybody would stick with PCANZ. It didn’t work out that way, because surprise surprise – people can think for themselves.

            Reply
            • lurcher1948

               /  December 9, 2018

              People who love the sky fairy are scary and whats this PCANZ is it some skyfairy love feast??

        • Dunedin may not vote in a non-Labour MP any time soon, but National beat Labour in the party vote as recently as 2014.

          Dunedin South:
          – National 15,003 (39.7%)
          – Labour 12.518 (33.13%)

          Dunedin North:
          – National 11,302 (32.26%)
          – Labour 11,147 (31.82%)

          Reply
        • Duker

           /  December 9, 2018

          Wasn’t the campaign promise to ‘start construction this term’ which looks to be happening.
          I can see the whole project- two separate buildings- being built at the same time as being A cheaper way and more within the capabilities of the construction industry, given how tight things are for sub contractors

          Reply
  2. David

     /  December 9, 2018

    All the money has been spent on ridiculously high wage awards and a few more coming down the pike there is no money left for these very expensive workers to have a safe and sanitary place to work, lets not worry about the patients at all.
    Thanks to the sale of the power companies Christchurch has some first rate facilities and the government is still receiving the same level of dividends as before. Thank you Mr Key.

    Reply
    • Blazer

       /  December 9, 2018

      ‘ the government is still receiving the same level of dividends as before. Thank you Mr Key.’

      sure it is!It was 100% owned by the NZ taxpayer…now the register shows major foreign shareholders…the merchant bankers say thank you Mr Key for selling out NZ assets…again.

      Reply
      • The Consultant

         /  December 9, 2018

        Yeah – and if Bill Gates had continued to own almost 100% of Microsoft he’d be worth even more billions than now.

        Because that’s how this “logic” works in the world of owning and running businesses.

        Not to mention that 100% owned by the NZ taxpayer means we’re 100% on the hook for ongoing Capex and other “investment”, because businesses need care and feeding: they’re not like the Golden Goose.

        And then there’s owning the failures. Here’s two businesses I certainly wish were not 100% owned by the NZ taxpayer:
        – Solid Energy
        – Tranzrail.
        – Landcorp

        Reply
        • Blazer

           /  December 9, 2018

          Gates ownership of a private business is not comparing apples with..apples.

          Solid Energy’s C.E.O was on a mil plus p.an…couldn’t run a bath.
          Tranzrail asset stripped by Fay Richwhite has been in and out of public ownership.It is a crucial asset.

          Landcorp..plenty of bargain hunters want to buy bits of it…no harm done by Govt ownership.

          Capex is not a problem for Govt…they have tax revenue streams.

          BNZ and AirNZ but 2 examples of private investment fucking things up…gummint restored them to viable concerns.

          Reply
          • The Consultant

             /  December 9, 2018

            Gates ownership of a private business is not comparing apples with..apples
            We were talking about ownership, so I was trying to demonstrate to you the falsity of your argument that you always do better when you own a business 100%. That is not the case, whether the owner is the government or private. Your argument was hammered hard in the leadup to the sale of Gensis, when every Lefty screamed to the heavens that the governments dividend take would be reduced because they owned “only” 51%: those supporting the sale pointed out that the company would do better with private owners/investors in the mix and thus dividends would increase so that the government would get at least the same dollar amount as before.

            And that’s exactly what happened. The Lefty argument was bullshit then, and has proved to be bullshit every time. Heard the same thing about the godforsaken Post Office in the 1980’s, that the new telephone technology would have meant that the profits Telecom made would have been harvested by the government. That argument completely ignored the fact that the technology had been improving for previous decades, yet somehow the governments of the day never saw those technology profits and instead got treated as a piggybank.

            Solid Energy’s C.E.O was on a mil plus p.an…couldn’t run a bath.
            Bill Gates and Steve Jobs themselves could not have saved a company based around a resource that has no future. But even then the real fuckup came when a brain-dead Labour Party demanded that Solid Energy “invest” in new ideas for coal – this being years before Labour declared the end of fossil fuels to be our generations “Nuclear Free Moment”. Naturally the Left blamed National demanding dividends as the problem, as if funnelling 100% of thre profts back into Solid Energy would have saved it from the outside world. But this is what happens with 100% taxpayer ownership.

            Tranzrail asset stripped by Fay Richwhite has been in and out of public ownership.It is a crucial asset.
            Oh gawd… This again? That was 30 years ago, and the argument ignores the $100 million that Muldoon wrote off in the early 1980’s, not to mention the never-ending amounts of money we’ve poured in since Cullen’s brainfart in buying it back: a billion by now I think. NZ Rail failed to make money as a government department, an SOE, when privately owned by thr Richewhite crew, when owned by actual rail operators, Toll, and now again as an SOE.

            And for much the same reasons as Solid Energy: the market – meaning actual human beings who transport themselves and goods around the country – has been “telling” us for years that railways are largely useless in NZ. Crucial asset my arse. At best they might survive by shipping logs on the Waikato-Tauranga run, and possibly between the Waikato and Auckland for commodity freight.

            Landcorp..plenty of bargain hunters want to buy bits of it…no harm done by Govt ownership.
            In case you haven’t noticed Landcorp has been one of the biggest nongs in smashing down forestry and replacing it with dairy farms. Farms so large that no small or middling farmer will ever be able to buy them. And how did they manage to afford that? Well the answer is in your next question.

            Capex is not a problem for Govt…they have tax revenue streams.
            Not a problem in terms of having a bottomless well of cheap money, certainly. But it is a problem when it causes the managers (and owners) of those companies to make stupid decisions – and it always enables such stupidity because unlike a private business, the government owned business can never be corrected by bankruptcy, because they’re never allowed to die. New managers are hired, new politicians appear – and more money is simply thrown at the strategic stupidity, because it’s a “crucial asset” or some other such bullshit.

            Look at the recent political decision to retain the electric trains as they reach the end of their lives, when the company itself said that would actually increase CO2 emissions. Stupidity enabled by cheap, endless taxpayer streams of money.

            Same with Landcorp. Seen their ROI? As a taxpayer I’d much rather see it earning a better rate in a bloody ban account, or if it has to be spent, spent on doctors and nurses.

            You don’t get this. Lefties like you never got it in the 1980’s and you still want to argue the toss now. FFS.

            Reply
            • Blazer

               /  December 9, 2018

              you delt with everything as best as you could without mentioning Air and the BNZ.

              ‘those supporting the sale pointed out that the company would do better with private owners/investors in the mix and thus dividends would increase so that the government would get at least the same dollar amount as before.’

              THERE IS NO EVIDENCE TO SUPPORT THIS PREMISE.

              PURE UNADULTERATED SPECULATION -‘
              as if funnelling 100% of thre profts back into Solid Energy would have saved it from the outside world

              The transport lobby you mean!-‘has been “telling” us for years that railways are largely useless in NZ. Crucial asset my arse. ‘

              Rail is way more efficient ,if the infrastructure is in place…undeniable.

              To sum up -your neo liberal ideology about the efficiency of private ownership has been discredited time and again.
              Look at FBU ,has a virtual monopoly on building products and is a perennial basket case.
              Has been overseen by such luminaries and knighted hoods as Fletcher,Trotter,Deans,Norris=N.F.I.

            • The Consultant

               /  December 9, 2018

              Oh gawd 2.0
              you delt with everything as best as you could without mentioning Air and the BNZ.

              Given the structure of this blog I did not to write a longer piece – but since you insist.
              BNZ
              The government did not reduce it’s share of the BNZ until 1989, when it dropped to to 51%. Just one year the bank almost went broke because of massive commercial loans to Australia – most of which were organised when the government owned 100% of it. You think that lending only started a year earlier? The bank also then owned something like 40% of the commercial paper in NZ – a situation arising directly from the fact that it was a government owned bank with access to cheap and limitless government backing, exactly the same stupidity that lies behind the Solid Energy, Tranzrail and Landcorp “investment” dopiness and resulting piss poor ROI

              That’s why – after being forced to bail them idiots out so that the rest of NZ business did not go down the tube – the National government was determined never to let that situation happen again. They sold the BNZ, which became just another competing bank in the system, unable to screw the economy up again by taking such a large share of it. As a private bank, it has not been able to take those sort of huge, stupid risks again – and if it does go broke again it therefore won’t require being propped up with hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars.

              Air NZ
              Do you know how many airlines have gone broke over the years? Dozens. Big names like Pan Am, Eastern Airlines. It’s a very high-capital, low-margin industry and as risky as hell, irrespective of whether it’s private or publically owned. Which is why the goverment wanted it off the books in the late 80’s. Even when it did crunch, SIngapore Airlines were willing to buy it – until Cullen and Anderton stopped that cold and went for a bailout. They chose to feed the paranoia of old Lefties like you – as if Singapore Airlines would have got away with screwing NZ customers on price and service any more than Air NZ do anyway. Note that despite all the airline bankruptcies that have happened, flying is cheaper and with more people than ever globally.

              And there’s no certainty that a public Air NZ won’t in future make as dopey decision as the private Air NZ did when it bought Ansett, which was the reason for it going broke. Once again – public ownership does not protect against such stupidities and may even encourage them because of cheap, unlimited backing.

              And spare me any crap about how we’re ahead on the deal because of dividends since we forked out $885 million dollars in that bailout. It does not even come close to compensating for the compound interest we could have gotten on that money instead over the years: it’s called cost-of-capital and it counts whether it’s taxpayer money or not.

            • The Consultant

               /  December 9, 2018

              THERE IS NO EVIDENCE TO SUPPORT THIS PREMISE.
              Well apart from the actual dollar amounts, but I’m beginning to sense that math is not your thing. You can’t capitalise numbers for a start! 🙂
              Here, read the Treasury Analysis:

              In part 1, I showed that the dividends from the three electricity companies had significantly increased around the time that 49% of their shares were sold to investors, and the companies were listed on the stock exchange. I’ll now look at some reasons why this might have happened.

            • The Consultant

               /  December 9, 2018

              PURE UNADULTERATED SPECULATION -‘ [Solid Energy]
              On the contrary it is a straight-forward analysis based on the simple fact of the company being based around a fossil fuel which is declining in use and value. Given that fact, no amount of investment, with from outside or using all the profits, will save Solid Energy, any more than investing in a buggy whip factory would have saved it after 1910.

              Rail is way more efficient ,if the infrastructure is in place…undeniable.
              PURE ASSERTION…. Oh wait, I’m falling into your bad habits of debate. Rail can more efficient, such as in hauling commodities across vast, flat parts of Europe, Asia and the USA. Or shuttling people around in densely packed cities.

              But niether of those situations apply to NZ, aside from the vary limited aspects of the Auckland-Hamilton-Tauranga triangle – and then only for freight, maybe. I see some dopey suggestion about subsidies being made the other day, a sure sign that it’s not paying it’s way, even before we consider the money that has to be set aside to replace capital assets. NZ Rail has not been able to do that for a hundred years, even when it sometimes squeezed out a small operational profit.

              To sum up -your neo liberal ideology about the efficiency of private ownership has been discredited time and again.
              Look at FBU ,has a virtual monopoly on building products and is a perennial basket case.

              Ah! I see where you’re going with this and it’s another classic misunderstanding by a Leftist that I see all the time. The point is not to have private ownership alone, it’s to have lots of privately owned companies in a market.

              So I would never want Transpower to be privatised: it’s a natural monopoly. I don’t think competition is possible there so would prefer it to be owned by the government.

              That’s not the point in avoiding government ownership of businesses. The point is to get competition, and government ownership of businesses does not help that, in fact it stifles it.

              Aside from that I’ve seen plenty of large corporations that were just as bureacratic and clunkily managed as any government SOE. And they love having a monopoly or oligopoly. Your example of FBU is a classic – but the answer to its bullshit is to change the market rules and regulations to encourage competition from other private companies. It sounds like you think the answer would be for the government to take over FBU.

            • Blazer

               /  December 10, 2018

              ‘ and if it does go broke again it therefore won’t require being propped up with hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars.’

              yeah right!Only you believe this.


              Do you know how many airlines have gone broke over the years? Dozens.’

              What wonderful rationale!!!Are you ..serious?


              ‘ had significantly increased around the time that 49% of their shares were sold to investors, ‘

              no surprise there at all…what about debt levels?

              ‘ Rail can more efficient, such as in hauling commodities across vast, flat parts of Europe, Asia and the USA. Or shuttling people around in densely packed cities.

              But niether of those situations apply to NZ, aside from the vary limited aspects of the Auckland-Hamilton-Tauranga triangle – and then only for freight, maybe. ‘

              each way …bettor… 😉

              ‘So I would never want Transpower to be privatised: it’s a natural monopoly. I don’t think competition is possible there so would prefer it to be owned by the government.’

              try this for size…

              ‘ He assured Wellingtonians that Trans Alta had a long-term interest in owning the local electricity network and increasing its value.

              But just four years later, Trans Alta sold the electricity lines network to Kansas banking group United Networks for about $560m – making a handsome return.

              Four years after that, United Networks sold it to New Zealand company Vector for $800m – another hefty profit.

              Six years later, in 2008, Vector sold the network to its current owner, Wellington Electricity Lines Ltd, a subsidiary of Chinese company Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings Ltd.

              So our local electricity network has been sold four times in the past 16 years, and each sale has brought windfall profits for its mostly foreign owners. The problem is that as the value of the network has been inflated with each sale, the amount we pay for line charges has risen steeply as well.’

    • lurcher1948

       /  December 9, 2018

      Keys,happy screwing you for the profits of the ANZ bank and Australia,Key ran away to help Australia NOT NZ and National continues to shaft New Zealand by being a Com Chinese proxy

      Reply
  3. Strong For Life

     /  December 9, 2018

    It is easy to make bombastic promises on the election trail as Labour and Ms Ardern did. It is far harder to put them into practice as Labour and Ms Ardern are finding out.

    Reply
    • Blazer

       /  December 9, 2018

      Agree.
      Nationals benign….feel good marketing,lacking any real substance…works way better.

      Reply
  4. Duker

     /  December 9, 2018

    We can remember Dundedin hospital has been a political football for some years. Local stories have Tony Ryall- remember him ?- was promising the ‘business case’ for a new hospital to be completed just after the 2014 general election . Use of the term business case in this context usually means a reduction in beds/wards as that has the biggest effect on costs. But the delay means construction costs have gone up even faster since then.
    I’ve lived in other provincial towns where Nationals roading/hospital/schools have come to nothing. Some schools waited for years after being promised they could ‘draw up plans’ without given any money to build. Todd McClay has promised 2 different road bypasses in Rotorua since before 2011 election. There was the famous Bridges Bridges in Northland. Go around most provincial electorates and the story is repeated.
    This time Dunedin does seem to have construction start on their hospital within the government s term ,as promised

    Reply
  5. David

     /  December 9, 2018

    Anyway back to the Labour government being liars and incapable of running a bath and have shafted the good folk of the south. Fool me once shame on me fool me twice..well lets see what they promise next time around.

    Reply
    • lurcher1948

       /  December 9, 2018

      Barbeque season coming up for Simon ,night of the long nights coming with ****** applying the dagger to the heart of a corrupt party National

      Reply

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