Leaked documents reveal Counties Manukau DHB has prioritised spending on new lecture theatres and event spaces over the remediation of leaky, mouldy buildings.
A budget forecast, obtained the Herald, says that by the end of this financial year in June, the board would have spent $8.6 million extending "Ko Awatea", its centre for health system improvement and innovation.
The centre hosts events and is used as a learning and research hub. Construction on the three-storey extension began in March 2017.
But the DHB was not planning to begin the $7.3 million reclad of the children's hospital Kidz First, nor the $5.2 million remediation of the McIndoe building, which houses the National Burns Centre, until June at the earliest, according to the documents. Both buildings are riddled with toxic mould.
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While $5.92 million was to be spent on the Scott building by June this year, the other $11.7 million is not budgeted until some time between 2018/19 and 2021/22.
Recladding at the DHB's Superclinic complex in Manukau, costing $7.3m, was not budgeted until 2022/23.
All four buildings were identified as leaking, with dangerous mould and bacteria growing in them and are at risk of having cladding fall from them.
The DHB today declined to answer questions about why Ko Awatea's extension was funded ahead of recladding the leaky buildings, or when Kidz First would be reclad.
A spokeswoman said the Herald's request would need to be answered under the Official Information Act as the information would take time to gather.
Minister of Health Dr David Clark also declined to comment.
Issues with Middlemore were exposed last month, in a damning report which identified extensive repairs needed.
The report was commissioned in the middle of last year and sent to the DHB in November. It recommended repairs begin immediately on the KidzFirst building and targeted repairs should also start this year on the McIndoe ambulance bay, where there is a risk that cladding will fall, exposing staff and the public to mould.
"The timeframes for repair are critical as the moisture damage of these buildings is in places close to breaching the internal linings," the report said.
"Ad-hoc emergency repairs are unlikely to be an acceptable option as they present a risk to patients and staff and will adversely affect the smooth operation of the facility."
In addition, Radio NZ today reported that 16 more buildings were of concern at the hospital, with seven of them rated as "high".
RNZ said a briefing document had revealed that the Colvin complex, western campus and Otara spinal unit were considered of "high concern", with asbestos, leaks, critical infrastructure problems and seismic risks.
After the initial report was made public, acting chief executive Gloria Johnson said Counties Manukau Health had been aware that several buildings were affected by weather-tightness for some time.
But expert advice was that as long as the wall spaces were not open to ventilation into the hospital or near an air intake, patient safety would not be compromised by the fungal growth, she said.
However the New Zealand Nurses Organisation has disputed that assessment, and raised concerns about patient safety.
The union's chief executive Memo Musa said patients with compromised respiratory systems were particularly at risk, and the NZNO was not convinced the mould would stay in the walls.
"Our delegates have reported that walls are regularly damaged and simply patched over, and we believe there is a possibility that fungal spores are being released," she said.
"NZNO is disheartened that the budget allocated to CMDHB for maintenance remains too small to cover even the basic infrastructure maintenance costs of buildings."
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has said under-investment well before her Government took power last year had led to the current situation, while National said it wasn't aware of the specific problems and it was up to the current Government to deal with them.