National accuses Government of failing to deliver on Dunedin Hospital as candidates battle to win safe red seat

National has accused the Government of deception over its failure to deliver a major infrastructure project, the Dunedin Hospital.

It comes amid a blue play for a safe red seat in the southern city, in which the candidates are going to war over who's more committed to actually living in the Taieri electorate.

Labour said it'd start construction on the new Dunedin Hospital in its first term.

But the Cadbury factory on the site is still standing - the business case hasn't even been given final Cabinet signoff.

"The Government has scandalously attempted to deceive the people of the south into thinking there has been progress around the Dunedin Hospital rebuild when it hasn't," National MP Michael Woodhouse says.

When questioned about her party's construction promise, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said: "Again we've seen on these sites the go-ahead and funding for demolition work to start."

The race for Dunedin is on track to become nasty. Labour safely holds both Dunedin electorate seats - though the MPs that currently hold those seats happen to be two of the ministers the Prime Minister had to sack.

Despite his failures, former Health Minister David Clark is standing again - but Clare Curran's seat - renamed Taieri - is up for grabs.

National’s Taieri candidate Liam Kernaghan thinks Labour is taking this seat for granted.

"Absolutely - they've flown in a candidate from Auckland," he tells Newshub.

Labour's candidate Ingrid Leary has recently moved to Dunedin from Waiheke Island.

Newshub asked her if she'd stay in Dunedin even if she didn't win, and Leary replied she "hasn't thought about not winning".

But Newshub's unearthed an interview Leary did with Radio Waiheke where she said: "It has been a safe Labour seat so if I dont win the seat I probably won't ever be catching a plane back to Dunedin."

Leary said she meant she won't feel comfortable coming back if she loses.

"I'm expected to win the seat, it's a strong safe Labour seat," she told Newshub.

"I'm working really hard to make sure it stays that way and I'd be very embarrassed if I didn't win the seat, it would mean I'd done something terribly wrong."

But the guy sticking the boot in doesn't live in the electorate yet either - he's 2km outside the boundary.