What progress has been made in upgrading New Zealand hospitals?
This Government is committed to rebuilding the hospital infrastructure of New Zealand from Kaitāiato Invercargill. The Government has, under the watch of my predecessor, the Hon Annette King, shown that commitment by the largest investment in public hospital infrastructure for a generation.
How does the Government’s hospital upgrades programme, then, compare with the efforts of previous administrations?
The Labour-led Government’s historic investment in upgrading hospitals and opening new facilities stands in stark contrast to the previous National Government’s programme of closures and under-investment in New Zealand’s hospitals. Between 1991 and 1999 the National Government closed 38 public hospitals. We are building new ones, and the difference between that party and this is that those members have tax cuts on their minds.
How can the Minister justify a reduction in the number of beds following the upgrade of Wellington Hospital, and what contribution will this reduction make towards reducing waiting lists?
The number of beds in New Zealand has been reducing for about a century. The new hospital, Wellington base hospital, being built by this Labour Government will be a modern hospital, a good hospital, and suitable for the needs of the Wellington Capital and Coast region in the years 2005 and beyond.