Waitaki wants rebuild Poll of 2000 shows support for Dunedin Hospital

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Waitaki residents want the Dunedin Hospital rebuild to start before next year’s election, according to a survey commissioned by Labour MP David Clark. The poll of landline phone owners, conducted in late August, revealed 74% of 2000 respondents wanted a rebuild on the go before they cast their votes for the next government. Only 7% thought a physical rebuild could wait. The results matcheda poll of Dunedin residents that showed 78% wanteda rebuild and 7% were happy to wait. Health Ministry­appointed Southern Partnership Group chairman Andrew Blair, in a statement to the Otago Daily Times, saida detailed business case for the rebuild should be complete by mid­ 2018. Dr Clark said his poll indicated the people of Waitaki expected a certain level of care close to their rural centres.  ‘‘When there’s an emergency, Dunedin’s onlya little bit down the road and they know it’s a world­class system.’’ The Dunedin North MP, whose electorate stretches to just north of Herbert, said there had been mixed messages for years over whena business case would be ready to go, and it seemed as though the latest date was no final promise either. ‘‘The Government speaks a big game on this but won’t commit on timeframes. ‘‘Every major city in New Zealand has hada hospital refurbishment except Dunedin. It’s Dunedin’s turn. There’s no debate about that. However, the decision keeps getting pushed out and further down the priority list for the Government.’’  He said Auckland people would ‘‘scream from the roof tops’’ if their hospitals were as neglected. Dr Clark, who is holding clinics in Oamaru every six weeks, was asked if the Waitaki electorate could expect a serious Labour contender at the next general election.  He said Labour would field competitive contenders in all the regions as it wanted to take them back from National. ‘‘The Waitaki is winnable.’’ ? David Clark will write a monthly column in the Oamaru Mail starting next week.