15 months since the announcement of a new children's hospital in Wellington, construction is finally underway.
The government is injecting $45mil into a new state-of-the-art facility, supplemented with a generous $50mil donation from businessman Mark Dunajtschik.
Today marked a new milestone for the hospital with a ceremonial laying of a mauri stone to mark the beginning of its construction.
The new 7000m2 hospital will be built in the suburb of Newtown, beside Wellington's Regional Hospital.
It will accommodate 50 inpatient hospital beds, social and family areas, outpatient consultation rooms and staff areas.
Health Minister David Clark says, "Without Mr Dunajtschik's contribution the project is unlikely to have gone ahead. That significant cornerstone donation made it really logical for the Crown to get involved and make this project happen."
Wellington property magnate and philanthropist Dunajtschik says he thought it was only appropriate that a donation of $50mil be used to build a hospital and not a monument.
“It was suggested by Bill that I should contribute to a hospital but the conversation morphed into that- I was actually building a hospital."
Construction will begin this month after unforeseen issues, including land contamination from previously demolished buildings, delayed the project.
Dunajtschik says, "The land where the building goes has been a gully and has been filled in over the decades with all sorts of rubbish and naturally contaminated and consequently we had to find a solution not to disturb the contamination in the ground."
Clark says some current hospital facilities, over 30 years old, are no longer fit for purpose. The government's contribution to the new hospital is the latest funding from the $750mil for health sector capital investment.
Clark says, "It's a very important investment. We have hospital infrastructure up and down the country that needs replacement over time and it's no surprise that after significant time there's been little capital investment in our health infrastructure...a good deal of it needs replacing in coming years."
Construction will be completed by 2021.