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National pledges to put an extra $30m into Dunedin Hospital if elected

Artist's impression of the new Dunedin Hospital from Te Whatu Ora website
National says it would restore some cuts to the build but not all. Photo: Supplied / Te Whatu Ora

The National Party has promised to restore some of the cuts from the $1.5 billion new Dunedin Hospital build, but says it won't change the footprint of the building.

The planned new hospital had been plagued by delays and budget blowouts since Labour campaigned in 2017 on getting the project underway by the 2020 election, and even before that under the previous National government.

Just before Christmas, the Labour government confirmed a $200 million budget blow out, saying it would cover $110 million and make design changes to cover the rest. It made controversial cuts to things like beds, MRI units and the number of operating theatres.

National's health spokesperson Shane Reti told Checkpoint that the party would put an extra 23 inpatient beds, two operating theatres and a PET scanner in the new build.

"The cost of this commitment is $29.5 million and will be fully funded as part of the next National government's programme of capital investment," he said.

Reti said the funding for the hospital was "likely to come from new money" but said any further details would be revealed in the party's fiscal plan that will be released closer to the election.

But National was not planning on undoing changes like the downsizing of the diagnostics labs, which affect the footprint of the building.

"We won't change the footprint of the building that has been agreed on because to do that would then go through further consenting processes and would just further hold up this project," said Reti.

"We need to start building."

He said National plans to start fitting the hospital with these facilities in 2026, when the build is expected to be ready to do so.