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Closure of the IV Union - a Serious Concern

Closure of the IV Union - a Serious Concern

At their monthly meeting, a record number of Palmerston North Community Services Council members expressed their real concern at the threatened closure of the IV Union which operates the needle exchange for the region.

The local Police have also been outspoken about the consequences of this.

In marked contrast to the Partnership protocols being developed by other government departments with community groups, the Ministry of Health seems unable to embody any of the principles recommended by the Government's Community and Voluntary Sector Working Party: Respect, Value and Resource.

Like most community groups, the IV Union has built up a wealth of expertise and respect in the community over a long time, operating one of the most effective preventative health programmes around. Even the tattooists take advantage of it. Yet all of this is done on a shoe-string - under-funded and under-resourced, relying on the dedication of workers and board members to the cause of community well-being.

The Ministry appears to have no concept of adequate funding for services provided by community groups. Their efforts to get other agencies, including government ones take it on, at their price have been notably unsuccessful.

The closure of the Centre this week is a sad day for the central North Island communities it has serviced, with the loss of expertise, the loss of a valuable service, and the likely increase in the spread of very serious, preventable diseases and the flow on effects of these.

Ian Ritchie Executive Officer Palmerston North Community Services Council pncsc@inspire.net.nz 06 354 3804 w, 06 3289 618 h

IV Union contact - Kelvin Richardson - Co-ordinator - 021 - 488 646

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