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What Cost For Delayed Project?

What Cost For Delayed Project?

ACT New Zealand Associate Health Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman today demanded an assurance from Labour that the closure of Nelson's Braemar Hospital and Kimberley Centre will not exceed budget, in light of new information showing that the project is running more than a year behind and looks in danger of costing more than was originally planned.

"Answers to my written Parliamentary Questions have revealed that the closure of these institutions was set to be completed by March 2005. This has now been extended to March 2006. Further, of the $4,452,662 set aside for this, $2,067968 has already been spent - yet only seven of Braemar Hospital's 69 patients have been relocated, and the Kimberley Centre has 350 residents to move," Dr Newman said.

"With almost half the budget gone, this project is nowhere near being halfway complete. Associate Minister for Older Persons Ruth Dyson has said that Nelson's escalating market property values, and demand for housing contractors, has created delays in completing new accommodation for the institutions' residents.

"The question, therefore, must be asked: what does this Government think it is doing? Obviously, Labour's planning processes leave much to be desired. Meanwhile, elderly patients are unsettled, waiting to be moved to new premises, while taxpayers must face the risk of cost blowouts caused by the delays.

"To complicate matters, answers to yet another Parliamentary Question have revealed that it will cost an extra $7.1 million to care for these patients in their new premises, than it did in Braemar Hospital and the Kimberley Centre.

"This is completely unacceptable, and is another example of this Government's habit of rushing into projects with inadequate planning and little regard for consequences. Such mis-management will not only cost taxpayers dearly, but leaves patients and their families waiting in limbo," Dr Newman said.

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