It won’t be a surprise that the rebuild of Dunedin Hospital, the lack of affordable housing and the loss of local jobs are topping the phone and online surveys I have been running for the past few weeks.
The results show growing frustration among Dunedin residents.
The rebuild of Dunedin Hospital is the standout issue; 40% of phone respondents rank it as their top issue, along with 35.9% of those who completed the survey online.
Comments include; “waiting lists are horrific and very unwell people being discharged from ED is way too common”, “we need to future-proof Dunedin health care” and “imperative to retain the medical school”.
Many also highlight frustrations with the progress of the rebuild: “there is just too much stalling” and “the excuses being fed to us are simply insulting”.
This is not surprising when the worst-case scenario date for the rebuild is now 2031 and patients are waiting longer and longer for surgery and appointments.
The next big issue is housing, the reasons ranging from affordability for renters and first-home buyers, to low standards of heating insulation and ventilation in rental properties.
My constituent, Dale, is raising her young grandson on her own and doing it really tough, paying $300 a week in private rent, which leaves her with $80 a week for food and other necessities.
She couldn’t get into a state house and is consequently in a very precarious situation.
Phyllis (not her real name) has cancer, is undergoing chemotherapy and has cardiac issues.
She lives in a private rental that is cold and damp and has had to stop working. She’s nowhere near the top of the list for a state house.
There are dozens of families in Dunedin being put up in motels, waiting for a state house because they can’t afford private rentals.
Drawing near equal with housing is the availability of local jobs.
With the loss of Cadbury, many people are clearly concerned about the future of local jobs in our city. As one respondent said, “Dunedin needs to grow, not stagnate”.
With less than three months before the general election, I hope everyone is thinking about the issues that matter.
The National Government has let down us in the South, and I believe it’s time for a fresh approach.
Labour will build 100,000 affordable homes across the country, put money back into our health system and invest in unlocking Dunedin’s potential to create more jobs.
By Dunedin South MP Clare Curran