Someone is not being truthy over Middlemore, my pick is the government

There is a lot of murk being chucked around about the state of Middlemore Hospital, so much so that Jonathan Coleman has taken it upon himself to speak out.

Radio NZ reports:

Former Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says documents show he was not warned about rotting buildings at Middlemore Hospital in South Auckland.

RNZ has been reporting on hospital buildings at Middlemore Hospital that are full of rot and potentially dangerous mould. There’s also asbestos present and raw sewage leaking into the walls.

Earlier today, National Party leader Simon Bridges told Morning Report Dr Coleman did not know about Middlemore’s building problems.

“Now should he have known? Yeah. And it should be interesting to understand what has happened there.”

He rejected the suggestion it was a failure of ministerial oversight.

In a blog post this afternoon Dr Coleman said he had been reviewing a couple of “very pertinent” documents.

“It’s just not credible to say that Middlemore Building problems were widely known about and I would have known,” he wrote.

This claim that was made in late March to Morning Report by former Counties Manukau District Health Board chair Lee Mathias.

“Most people in Wellington knew of the situation Middlemore was in,” she said then.

She also said the state of the buildings was covered in board minutes that were publicly available. However, the DHB has blocked the release of these minutes to RNZ under the Official Information Act. End of quote.

Now why would they do that? I thought they were publicly available? The story continues:

Dr Coleman said his review of the transcript of when Counties Manukau DHB appearing before the Health Select Committee on 21 February found “no mention of the problems with buildings that have been revealed in the past few weeks”.

“Surely if the building problems were known about the DHB chair and acting CEO would have been screaming it from the rooftops at select committee?” he wrote in his blog.

“… and if they didn’t know about it, how could a minister know?”

The second document he said he looked at was the Auditor-General’s report from in mid-2016 on DHBs’ response to asset management requirements since 2009.

It showed the Counties Manukau reporting it had a lot of life left in its buildings – 89 percent.

“That’s the second lowest of all DHBs,” Dr Coleman said.

Hardly a red flag for imminent buildings problems at Middlemore.”  End of quote.

Yes, hardly. Someone isn’t being truthy about this issue. I suspect it is the DHB and the government.

Coleman has pointed out rather pertinent documents that are very hard to refute. This may yet blow up in the government’s face.

It does raise some interesting questions about the ability of the former opposition, who are now in government. It is well known that the public sector are Labour flunkies. How come the much-vaunted Annette King never found out about this? How come the former opposition never raised issues over this when in opposition if it was so widely known? Were they asleep?

I think the government have now been caught pants-down lying about this. They needed to beat up the former government over something and this was what they picked. It’s a shame, for them, that Jonathan Coleman appears to know what he is talking about when it comes to health.


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.

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