Former Health Minister Jonathan Coleman has hit back at claims he knew about problems with buildings at Middlemore Hospital, where some buildings contain toxic mould and others have leaking sewerage pipes.
The former National MP posted to social media this afternoon, saying if the Counties Manukau DHB had known the full extent of the issue, it should have been "screaming it from the rooftops" and it was "just not credible" to say he should have known.
Coleman told the Heraldon Fridayhe had "absolutely no knowledge" of the problems at the South Auckland hospital.
But new National Party leader Simon Bridges told Radio NZ today that Coleman should have known about the problems and it would be "interesting to see what has happened there".
• Coleman 'should have known' about Middlemore and should have fronted on it, National leader Simon Bridges says
Coleman is stepping down as MP for Northcote, having accepted a job with private health provider Acurity.
He posted to social media today saying he had been reviewing "a couple of very pertinent documents".
They include the transcript of the Counties Manukau DHB appearance before the health select committee in February, in which no mention was made of the problem with buildings.
"Surely if the building problems were known about the DHB chair and acting CEO would have been screaming it from the rooftops at select committee?" he wrote.
"Did they know about the problems? If they did why didn't they raise it at the Health Select Committee? And if they didn't know about it, how could a minister know?"
A second document from the Auditor General in 2016 also claimed that buildings at Counties Manukau had a "through life" of 11 per cent, meaning they had 89 per cent of their useful lives remaining, he said.
"That's the second lowest of all DHBs. Hardly a red flag for imminent buildings problems at Middlemore."
Counties Manukau District Health Board executives had their annual review at Parliament in February, and no mention was made of mouldy or leaky buildings, he said. Reference was made to patient numbers and demands on infrastructure but there had been no specific discussion of the state of any buildings.
But former DHB chairwoman Dr Lee Mathias quickly weighed in with a response, saying there was "nothing dodgy or secret about the state of buildings at Middlemore".
She said the problems were all well known and had been regularly reported.
"Ministers, including Coleman, signed off remedial work eg the complete rebuild of the Mental Health facility in Minister Coleman's case."
Mathias said the 11 per cent through-life of the buildings was also misleading as it included the brand new $298m Clinical Services block.
Counties Manukau DHB declined to answer questions from the Herald about Coleman's comments.