The National government's under-investment in health services is worse than originally thought, and the issues at Middlemore Hospital are demonstrative of that, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says.
The Government is investing $11.5 million into fixing the Scott building at the south Auckland hospital after it was revealed it was riddled with toxic mould and decaying timber.
On Tuesday, RNZ reported the hospital was also forced to use emergency generators for weeks at the Manukau Superclinic after a power failure in April 2017.
"We knew it was bad, but we didn't know it was this bad," Ardern said.
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"When we look at the capital needs of hospitals and health in particular, but also the deficits DHBs are facing, it's worse than I was anticipating."
Ardern said National Party leader Simon Bridges and former health minister Jonathan Coleman would have known about the Middlemore buildings.
"When it comes to a case-by-case basis they would have to look at what they were being given by officials," Ardern said.
"There's no way they could turn a blind eye to the deficits that everyone could see."
Bridges denied that, saying he did not know the specifics around the Middlemore mould when he was in government.
He said National had invested more in the health sector than ever before.
More capital was needed for Middlemore, and it was now time to see what the new government did, he said.
"We came through tough times to record investment. Does that need to continue? Yes.
"Now it's time for them to do that, not make excuses and try [to] blame the last government for what issues today that they'll need to deal with."
Repairs to the mouldy buildings are expected to cost Counties Manukau Health $27.5 million.
A report showed the decay at the Kidz First children's hospital and Manukau Superclinic was so advanced there was a danger it would breach the walls.
Health Minister David Clark said he was having ongoing conversations with the Counties Manukau District Health Board chairman Rabin Rabindran.
"This is really the legacy of a government that has neglected health for nine years and we can see the consequences today," Clark said.
The first step was to take stock of the significance of the damage to the buildings and the neglect, and then replace what was there, he said.
"There are a lot of people are really annoyed at the neglect in the health system over the years who are now speaking out about it and saying it needs to change."