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PlunketLine – Challenging ‘real’ political will

29 September 2006 -

PlunketLine – Challenging ‘real’ political will

Delegates at the National Council of Women of New Zealand (NCWNZ) Conference in Invercargill applaud the Royal New Zealand Plunket Society’s announcement of its long-term commitment to PlunketLine.

“The Council agrees with Plunket President, Kaye Crowther’s statement that PlunketLine is too important and too highly valued by families to allow the service to be disbanded as a result of the withdrawal of Ministry of Health funding,” said Christine Low, National President, NCWNZ.
Negotiations between Plunket and the Ministry of Health have taken place over several months. During this period, the Council has indicated its concern that these negotiations would be protracted, allowing the “dust to settle”, before the Ministry went public with its refusal to budge on resumption of PlunketLine funding.

“The failure of the Ministry of Health to redress its error in judgement when tendering this service to an American subsidiary telecommunication/healthcare service provider,” said Christine Low, “has destroyed public faith and confidence in the process. Confidence, which still exists in the public’s perception of Plunket and PlunketLine.”

NCWNZ is disappointed that the PlunketLine petition (53,000 signatories), which was presented on 27 June 2006, has not yet been given a date for consideration by the Health Select Committee.

“The Council encourages those responsible to expedite the setting of a date,” said Christine Low. “However, we are confident that the Select Committee will make favourable recommendations to the Government and come out on the public’s side.”

The Government is not bound by the recommendations made by the Select Committee.

“The fight for the resumption of Government funding of PlunketLine will continue; it will be persistent,” said Christine Low. “Ultimately, there has to be political will before a successful resolution can be attained. This is our challenge to the Government and other political parties – to demonstrate there is a real political will to retain PlunketLine; demonstrate that promises made to NGOs in the very recent past, will be delivered on and that the wider community’s wishes are acted upon.”

ENDS

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