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Give Kids A Good Start - Bring Back Plunket

Give Kids A Good Start - Bring Back Plunket

The best way to prepare children for school is to ensure they're raised in a strong, committed family - we can do this by bringing back Plunket, ACT New Zealand Education Spokesman Deborah Coddington said today.

"Over the past decade we've marginalised, what once was, a wonderful service," Miss Coddington said in a speech to Auckland's Milford Ladies' Probus Club.

"I would never have managed to help bring up four healthy, independent, educated children to adulthood without the strong support I got from the Plunket nurses who visited me and helped me become a confident mother.

"If I could achieve just one thing in my time as a politician, it would be to have Plunket nurses going into the homes of every mother who leaves hospital - for as long as it takes - to get mother and baby bonded, and to ensure other children are developing normally.

"Labour has turned Plunket nurses into the equivalent of car mechanics doing warrants of fitness. They tick the boxes and fill their visit quotas in order to get their funding.

"Today too many little children are starting school who've never been taught how to hold a book or a pencil. They're hungry and have no lunch. How can teachers hope to teach literacy and numeracy to these disadvantaged littlies?

"It's no use pouring millions of dollars into bounty hunters - the Trevor Mallard way - or into benefits, or student loans for nonsense qualifications when these illiterate children leave school as failures.

"We should be putting the resources into tried and tested organisations like Plunket, so those crucial first five years - when children are learning from their parents - are not wasted.

"We've thrown Plunket out with the bathwater. It's time to bring it back," Miss Coddington said.

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