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Prebble Only Wgtn. MP To Support Newtown Hospital

Responding to media requests for his answer to Alliance MP Phillida Bunkle's claim that National would site the new main hospital at Newtown because of his campaign as MP for Wellington Central, Mr Prebble said that there was some truth in her claims.

"I think any objective observer would agree that if Wellington Central had a Labour MP, there is no doubt that the Labour-inspired proposal to shift the main tertiary hospital from its present site in Newtown to Kenepuru in Porirua would have gone ahead," Mr Prebble said.

"Labour MP Graham Kelly who is the principal Parliamentary promoter of the scheme, persuaded the previous Minister of Health after the now notorious helicopter ride that the new hospital should be sited in Mr Kelly's electorate. No Labour MP or candidate spoke out against this extraordinary piece of pork barrel politics.

"The only MP to object was myself, and I think the reason is clear. It's because on these local issues, I am independent of party politics and just put forward what's in the best interests of Wellington.

"I have insisted that the medical professionals be surveyed, that there be an independent review and that the public who are going to use the hospital be consulted.

"To the intense embarrassment of both Labour and National it has turned out that both the medical practitioners and the public are on my side.

"What Phillida Bunkle is really saying is that if she or the Labour candidate are elected for Wellington Central then the hospital will be sited in Kenepuru for party political reasons."


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