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Plunket 2005 Conference Highlights

10 June 2005


Plunket Conference Palmerston North (600 volunteer delegates representing 8,000 volunteer members)

Highlights from Thursday 9 and Friday 10 June 2005

1. Children's Commissioner, Cindy Kiro, addressed the conference last night outlining: the United National Convention on the Rights of the Child and NZ's responsibilities; her role as Commissioner; support for the repeal of Section 59 of the Crimes Act; the wellbeing of children in NZ; the diversity of NZ families.
Speech available, delivered evening of Thursday 9 June

2. Plunket NZ President, Kaye Crowther, opened the conference last night; disappointed at NZ's fourth worst position relating to child poverty and third worst position for child death by maltreatment in the OECD; pleased to secure two-year contract with Government and pleased at the results of a pilot client satisfaction survey which noted 'very good' satisfaction ranking of Plunket and that the top services were home visits, car seat rental scheme, Family Centres, and PlunketLine, a service Plunket is committed to; acknowledging Plunket resources must capture all needs - those with the greatest socio-economic deprivation as well as parents struggling to cope who are not in this category; noting a huge community need for parenting education; stating Plunket volunteer services last year were valued at over $11 million; need to resolve issues with Government over funding for increased pay to nurses; working to ensure a seamless handover from lead maternity care to well child health so that breastfeeding rates can increase; and a need for the Well Child Health frame-work to be fully implemented.

Speech available, delivered evening of Thursday 9 June

3. ANZ to collect 5 cent coins for Plunket, ANZ today announced its sponsorship of the ANZ "5's for Under Fives" appeal, asking New Zealanders to collect their 5 cent coins and bring them into ANZ branches, where they will be donated to Plunket and used for Plunket's work with children and families in the region they are collected.
Caption story available - announcement made at 1.30 p.m. Friday 10 June

4. Plunket Chief Executive, Paul Baigent, stated DHBs and the Ministry of Health are driven by a 'sickness model' which drives funding while Plunket works to keep children well; Plunket connects young families to the services they need and to their communities - today this is called social or community capital - Plunket has been doing this for nearly 100 years;

Plunket and other NGOs need to feature more prominently in Government's thinking about primary health care - the task is too big for any one organisation; advocacy on behalf of children is a key Plunket strategy; urged "Government to match the rhetoric of investing in the early years with appropriate funding ...it's about investment rather than rationing; Plunket and other community agencies are seen by officials as a fiscal risk to be managed rather than a valuable partner with the same goals as them ...with such pressure to ration the health dollar, I sometimes wonder whether well children are even in the radar"; highlighted the success of contact with high deprivation families in the Counties Manukau area -increased Government funding and Plunket's hard work increased contacts with Plunket by 127%;

since 2002, contacts with Counties Manukau families have increased 51% and as a result of this work, there has been a 9% decrease in acute admissions to Kidz First over the past two winters, showing what can be done when resources are available; "This year's budget alone commits a further $4billion to health over the next four years. Why can't $5million be found to roll out the well child framework? And with the recent significant increase in remuneration for DHB nurses, why us $4million not available to give our nurses parity with their DHB counterparts?"; said that every day, there are 20 new substantiated cases of child abuse of neglect - only Government can address the law that provides child discipline as a defence against child abuse under Section 59;

"I support compulsory parenting education ...we are allowing a generation of children to be branded low achievers because they are born into poverty and exposed to poor parenting ..."; said investment in the early years reduced future costs associated with poor health, mental health problems, low educational achievement, unemployment and crime - all key messages of Every Child Counts, a coalition putting the focus on politicians in the lead up top the election.
Speech available, delivered 1.20 p.m. Friday 10 June

5. Remits discussed today, Friday 10 June 2005
* That the Royal New Zealand Plunket Society advocates to the Department of Corrections to encourage and enable inmates to exclusively breastfeed their infants from birth to four-six months of age and, following the introduction of solids, continuing until at least 12 months of age, where appropriate - Carried

* That the Royal New Zealand Plunket Society advocates for the child-health database, Kidslink, to be implemented across the nation. - Carried

* Plunket requests that Government actively supports the adoption and implementation of a cohesive, government/non government (NGO) strategy to lift the status and wellbeing of New Zealand families - Carried

* That the Royal New Zealand Plunket Society actively promotes awareness of the need for investment in the critical early years of a child's life and encourages the government, political parties, businesses and community groups to implement policies that will; create the social, economic and political environment most likely to support that investment.- Carried

* That the Royal New Zealand Plunket Society advocates with the Department of Corrections to ensure that visits by children of inmates are considered a protected right and free of any consequence resulting from prison disciplinary procedures taken against the parent. - Lost

* That the Royal New Zealand Plunket Society advocates to the government to recognise the detrimental impact of children of exposure to all forms of violence and shows leadership in changing the culture of violence in New Zealand
society. - Carried.

* That the Royal New Zealand Society supports political and community action aimed at ending child poverty in New Zealand and works to reduce its impact on the health and wellbeing of children. - Carried

* That the 2005 Plunket Volunteer Conference expresses abhorrence at statistics showing New Zealand currently sits among the top three OECD nations for rates of child death by maltreatment. - Carried, with a strong request that Plunket highlights these appalling statistics.

* That the Royal New Zealand Plunket Society encourages parliamentarians to legislate for the protection of women who breastfeed in public spaces. - Carried

NB Sunday Political Session - Sunday 12 June 10.50 - 11.50 am
Greens representative will now be Sue Kedgley
Maori Party representative will now be Glenis Philip-Barbara
Other politicians taking part are Judith Collins MP (National); Hon Peter Dunne MP (United Future); Heather Roy MP (ACT); Steve Chadwick MP (Labour); Rt Hon Winston Peters MP (NZ First); and Hon Matt Robson MP (Progressive).

They will speak on the following:
1. What makes strong, connected communities?
2. What policies does your party promote to strengthen communities?
3. Do you consider Well Child Health and the early years of a child's development to be a priority area for investment? Why?
4. As Plunket is approaching its centennial in 2007, how do you perceive Plunket might contribute to communities in its next 100 years?

Speakers will select a number from a hat to determine their speaking order. Ex MP and Cabinet Minister, Deborah Morris -Travers, now Plunket's Advocacy Advisor, will chair the panel. Delegate questions will follow.

ENDS

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