Jonathan Coleman adamant he was never told of Middlemore Hospital's rotting buildings as health minister

Former health minister Jonathan Coleman is adamant he was never told of rotting buildings at Middlemore Hospital.

In recent weeks, it has been revealed buildings at the hospital have been affected by mould, leaks, power issues, asbestos and even raw sewage.

"Look,  if someone had said there were four buildings with leaky building issues at Middlmore, that would have gone straight to the top of the priority list," Dr Coleman told 1 NEWS this afternoon.

He said he was talking to a clinician at Middlemore over the weekend and they didn't know there were problems at the hospital.

Dr Coleman says if he had been told "that would have gone straight to the top of the priority list". Source: 1 NEWS

Dr Coleman also said the Counties Manukau District Health Board was before Parliament's Health Select committee about six weeks ago on February 21, and "there was no mention of these major building problems". 

"So no, I did not know. And I can't know unless I'm told by officials."

Asked why officials didn't alert him to the issues, Dr Coleman said he would expect an issue that affects patient care to be raised.

"There's a clear process for raising capital bids up to the capital investment committee. It just is not credible to say that they were in some way scared of me and wouldn't have raised the issues."

The DHB refused to comment on the matter today.

Health Minister David Clark said Dr Coleman, "should have asked the right questions," but the problems at Middlemore Hospital go back to underfunding.

Dr Coleman is due to leave Parliament soon to take up a new role as CEO of a private health group.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told today's post-Cabinet news conference that "to call the deficit that our health services are facing an accounting issue is ludicrous and wrong".

Finance Minister Grant Robertson said the unederfunding of health would take at least two election cycles to deal with. 

"We talked about a six-year plan to try and get back the $2.4 billion that the previous government had underfunded health by," he said.

The former Health Minister is under fire for his claimed ignorance of four leaky buildings in the Auckland hospital. Source: 1 NEWS



Taranaki man denies killing Waitara teenager in crash

A Taranaki man charged with dangerous driving causing death following an accident that killed a Waitara teenager last month has denied the offence.

The 37-year-old appeared in the New Plymouth District Court today where he also pleaded not guilty to charges of possession of cannabis, possession of utensils to consume methamphetamine, speeding and refusing to give a blood sample.

On 28 August, Olivia Renee Keightley-Trigg, 18, died after the man allegedly crashed into her on State Highway 3 between New Plymouth and Waitara.

The court heard that at about 6am the defendant was travelling towards New Plymouth when he crossed double yellow lines while overtaking another vehicle and drove into the path of Ms Keightley-Trigg.

Keightley-Trigg is one of 12 people to have been killed on the stretch of SH3 in the last 10 years.

The defendant was granted interim name suppression until 26 September, pending an appeal being filed over its potential lifting.

Defence counsel Paul Keegan argued that publication of the defendant's name could prejudice his right to a fair trial.

But Crown prosecutor Detective Sergeant Dave MacKenzie disagreed, telling the court that the defendant's right to a fair trial could be protected via other means.

Judge Garry Barkle said he was inclined to lift the name suppression in the interests of open justice but noted Mr Keegan had signalled his intention to appeal any such decision.

Judge Barkle therefore extended interim name suppression until 4pm on 26 September, pending an appeal.

The defendant, who has elected trial by jury, was remanded in custody to reappear on 22 November for a case review.

rnz.co.nz

Olivia Renee Keightley-Trigg.
Olivia Renee Keightley-Trigg. Source: NZ Police

TODAY'S
TOP STORIES

Christchurch Hospital sees seven people suffering severe affects of synthetic cannabis in 24 hours

Seven people have been treated in the last 24 hours at Christchurch Hospital's Emergency Department who're thought be be severely affected by synthetic cannabis.

In a statement the hospital says the emergency department has seen a number of people suffering from "probable severe synthetic cannabis toxicity, with seven people treated in the past 24 hours and three needing admission to the Intensive Care Unit".

Paul Gee, Emergency Medicine Specialist, Canterbury DHB says there has been a noticeable increase in patient attendances at the Emergency Department for side effects of synthetic cannabis use. 

He says some have minor adverse effects but others are more serious. Last month a man suffered a cardiac arrest after using synthetic cannabis but was successfully resuscitated.

Toxicology analysis has identified the substance taken by the patients as either AMB-FUBINACA or AB-FUBINACA.

AMB-FUBINACA has been linked to numerous deaths in the North Island during the past year.

"There are dangerous synthetic drugs available and taking them could seriously harm or kill you," Dr Gee said.

Drug and addiction help can be accessed at Tuhauora, Christchurch’s Central Coordination Service chchaod@odysseychch.org.nz or call the Alcohol and Drug Helpline 0800 787 797.

They're calling for the drug to be classified as Class A – the most harmful and dangerous.
Source: 1 NEWS

TODAY'S
FEATURED STORIES

Preparations are underway as more refugees set to make New Zealand home

Preparations are underway to accommodate more refugees in New Zealand after the Government announced it'll increase the quota by 500 people.

This means there will be changes for how and where we welcome refugees. Which starts with six weeks at the Mangere Refugee Centre in Auckland.

Mohamad Hasan’s son was born in an Indonesian refugee camp and Hasan has been stateless since fleeing Somalia in 1990.

"It's like moving from the cage to the world, I feel like that."

Qemajl Murati from the Refugee Resettlement Centre says the centre operates like a small village.

But now it is a growing village after the Government confirmed it is raising the refugee quota to 1500.

"I almost cried because there are so many people who are waiting," Mr Hasan said.

Mr Murati said, "We will have to look at the delivery model at the moment we have six intakes we may need to change to seven intakes."

The centre currently has 196 beds across six blocks, but it’s expanding to meet the demand. New building projects will take up to 250-260 beds.

New Zealand takes on refugees based on referrals from the UN.

In the last decade we've taken on more refugees originally from Myanmar and Bhutan than anywhere else - 1070 from Bhutan and 2434 from Myanmar.

More recently New Zealand have taken refugees from conflict zones like Syria and Afghanistan.  944 from Syria and 935 from Lebanon.

New Zealand ranks 95th in the world for its intake with Australia taking more than 18,000.

Meg de Ronde from Amnesty International New Zealand says, "I do think we need to step up as far as the numbers of people that we bring in, this has been an increase that has been 30 years in the making.”

Refugees are resettled in five regions, but six more are being opened up.

It comes after the Government announced it will increase the quota by 500. Source: 1 NEWS


Opinion: Will getting ahead in New Zealand increasingly become a lottery?

After recent struggles to get into the KiwiBuild ballot, it got me thinking what other things we used to take for granted in New Zealand might one day be left up to a lottery system?

Source: 1 NEWS

As the cost of living continues to race away from wages, it becomes increasingly hard to get on the property market, especially in the hyper-inflated Auckland region where I work and live.

In turn, this has led to the Government's KiwiBuild initiative, a noble one indeed, but something that would have been unimaginable back in my parents' day.

Outdated lending restrictions used by the major banks are not helping matters.

Currently, you can't get finance for a brand new affordable apartment with all the mod-cons if it's under 40 square metres, as most are these days.

However, they are more than happy to lend on a old tired more expensive apartment that is falling apart, which just hits the 40 square metre mark, and often look smaller than new builds due to poor layout.

The Government's "watered down" foreign buyer ban still lets overseas investors snap up these brand new apartments, meaning the status quo remains and there is no relief for the many Kiwis desperate to get into the market on any level.

National MP Judith Collins' comments this week criticising KiwiBuild suggest she is out of touch on the issue and gives little hope of any changes coming from that side of the House.

"Kiwi families deserve a home not a measly studio apartment only big enough for a single person and their cat," Ms Collins said.

What does she have against single people and cats? Are they so sub-human they don't deserve a place to live as well?

So, here we are with the lottery system, put your name in the hat and hope like hell you get selected to be hoisted onto the property ladder.

In the future, will other things once thought of as being part and parcel of living in New Zealand also become part of a lottery system?

It may sound far-fetched, but not many years ago so would a housing lottery too.

* Alan Kenyon is a 1 News Now Producer and would-be apartment owner. He does not own a cat.