Ngai Tahu may build new Grey Hospital

Laura Mills

Laura Mills

Ngai Tahu Property Ltd has been negotiating as a possibly private investor in the $60 million replacement Greymouth Hospital.
The group’s development portfolio includes a number of properties with Crown tenants, such as the court buildings in Christchurch and Queenstown, and police buildings in Christchurch, Dunedin and Queenstown.
It is also undertaking a major public-private partnership with the Christchurch City Council in developing the new $113 million civic building.
Ngai Tahu Property chairman Barry Bragg said “we are waiting on the Crown to confirm its process but (Ngai Tahu Property) would be interested if the opportunity was there”.
The business case for the new hospital is expected to go before Cabinet shortly.
West Coast-Tasman MP, Labour’s Damien O’Connor, said while not criticising Ngai Tahu, the DHB would be locked into paying a lease for the hospital.
It was “outrageous” that the public system was turning to private money to provide basic health services to the region.
“The National Government is effectively moving to privatise health, as they are with education.”
National Party list MP Chris Auchinvole said Ngai Tahu Property had an excellent track record, and private funding would “accelerate the availability of money” for the rebuild.
In turn, the investor would have a guaranteed income in the future, Mr Auchinvole said.
Some form of private investment or partnership has been talked about for several years.
Last year, Health Minister Tony Ryall said the West Coast District Health Board would seek private sector partners for the proposed integrated family health centre in Westport, which will probably cost between $6 and $8m.
In the board’s 2011-12 annual report it mooted opening up Grey Base Hospital to private surgery
after a number of surgeons said having the ability to do private work, as well as public surgery, would make the West Coast a more attractive proposition.
At least two public hospitals — Masterton and Wairau (Blenheim) — already provide for private patients.