Boost for child, maternity and mental health

  • Hon Dr David Clark
  • Hon Julie Anne Genter

$300 million dollar capital investment in health, divided among four focus areas:

  • Child and maternal health - $83 million
  • Mental health and addiction - $96 million
  • Regional and rural service projects – $26 million
  • Upgrading and fixing aging hospital facilities - $75 million
  • Contingency of $20 million

The New Zealand Upgrade Programme to modernise the economy includes new and expanded child health, maternity and mental health facilities as part of a package of priority health investments.

“This Government has made real progress rebuilding and strengthening our hospitals and public health services,” Health Minister Dr David Clark says

“In fact, we’ve invested more into upgrading our hospitals in our first two Budgets ($2.45 billion) than the previous government managed in nine years. That’s a reflection both of the scale of the challenges we inherited, and the importance this Government places on health and wellbeing.

“Today we’re announcing further investment of $300 million into areas we know will make a real difference to people’s lives.

“That’s particularly true in child and maternal health, which will receive an $83 million capital boost.

“The Prime Minister’s ambition is to make New Zealand the best place in the world to be a child. To support that, we’re investing in expanded neonatal intensive care to help our most vulnerable new-borns, and in maternity care for expectant mothers.”

Key investments in child and maternal health include:

  • Upgraded neonatal care facilities at Counties Manukau, Auckland, Hutt Valley, and Capital & Coast
  • Investment in upgraded maternity facilities in South Canterbury and Hutt Valley DHBs
  • New and upgraded mobile dental clinics in Hawke’s Bay, Lakes and Wairarapa

Associate Health Minister Julie Anne Genter says improved birthing facilities will support the great work already done by midwives.

“We want to give kids in New Zealand the best possible start in life. These investments will help make that a reality,” Julie Anne Genter says.

Dr Clark says improving our approach to mental health and addiction remains one of the biggest long-term challenges facing New Zealand.

“As a Government we’re making a record investment in mental health and addiction services. That must include better facilities to support treatment and recovery.

“Already we’ve announced funding to upgrade mental health facilities in Waikato and Palmerston North, as well as new facilities in Tairawhiti.

“A further investment of $96 million will fund projects such as:

  • A new acute mental health facility at Tauranga Hospital
  • A new acute mental health facility Whakatane Hospital
  • A new acute mental health unit at Hutt Valley DHB
  • Completing the refurbishment of the mental health facility in Taranaki

“As well as addressing the long-standing need for better mental health facilities, the Government is also supporting regional health services with these investments.

“For example, in Whanganui we will fund a $2 million extension to the Waimarino Health Centre, and a further $10 million has been earmarked for work at Kaitaia Hospital, including maternity and community mental health facilities.

“We’re also pushing ahead with projects to deal with the legacy of underinvestment in core hospital facilities that we inherited.

“In MidCentral $26 million will go towards the much-needed expansion of the Surgical Services Unit at Palmerston North Hospital, increasing capacity so that more people can get the care they need.

“In Nelson Marlborough and South Canterbury we’re future proofing our hospitals by replacing aging, dirty coal-burning boilers with modern, green alternatives. And at Capital & Coast $10 million will go towards the cost of replacing leaky copper pipes.

“Today’s announcement means DHBs can get to work now on the detailed planning work needed to make all these projects, and many more, a reality. That will mean better health services for New Zealanders, and a more sustainable and secure future for our public health service, Dr Clark says.

NOTE: An initial tranche of projects totalling $195m has been announced today. Further projects within these four priority areas will be announced in coming months.

Previous capital investments

Today’s funding announcements build on the $2.45 billion of capital invested into our hospitals and other health facilities in the last two Budgets. This is more than twice as much as the previous government managed in all nine of the budgets it delivered combined.

Since Budget 2018 funding has been confirmed for projects up and down New Zealand including:

  • $100m for a new mental health facility in Hamilton
  • $300m redevelopment of Taranaki Base Hospital, building a new East Wing to house a range of critical and acute services
  • $275m for Auckland DHB to address significant infrastructure challenges at Auckland City Hospital and Greenlane Clinical Centre 
  • $200m (plus $42.1m from the DHB) for a new elective surgery unit at North Shore Hospital 
  • $80m for four projects at Counties Manukau DHB including recladding of the Kidz First Building and establishing a radiology hub at the Manukau SuperClinic
  • $79m for new specialist mental health facilities at Canterbury DHB’s Hillmorton campus
  • $30m for upgrading the acute mental health facility at Palmerston North Hospital
  • $45.6m for the new Wellington Children’s Hospital
  • $30m for a new integrated stroke unit at Auckland DHB
  • $24m for new endoscopy and cardiac care capacity at Northland DHB’s Whangarei Hospital 
  • $20m for new Buller Hospital Integrated Family Unit
  • $8.4m for Individualised Service Units at Capital and Coast DHB for our most high needs intellectual disability and mental health patients 
  • $7.1m for the Phase 2 redevelopment at Bay of Islands Hospital
  • $15-20m for new in-patient mental health and addiction unit at Hauora Tairāwhiti Gisborne Hospital

In addition, good progress is being made on the Dunedin Hospital rebuild project and Budget 2019 included a ring-fenced contingency to fund the work.