Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


Don’t let the hotline go cold, Prime Minister

Don Brash
National Party Leader

9 April 2006

Don’t let the hotline go cold, Prime Minister

National Party Leader Don Brash is calling on the Prime Minister to explain her “betrayal” of the iconic child health service, Plunket.

In her 1999 speech from the throne, Helen Clark said her Government would ‘fund the Plunket Line service on a 24 hour a day, seven days a week basis’. This was a follow-on from her ‘Don’t let the hotline go cold’ postcard campaign, aimed at securing Plunket Line’s future – a key Labour platform at that time.

“Why has Helen Clark now turned around and decided to dump on Plunket and the families that rely on it?”

“Why is she prepared to spend so much money on pledge cards and advertising campaigns but not on a service that has served New Zealand parents for 12 years?”

Dr Brash says Plunket Line is a vital part of Plunket’s overall service to mothers and babies.

“It’s an extension of a service that parents know and trust and it must continue.

“Having the skills and experience of a Plunket nurse at the end of the phone is invaluable to parents when they are at their most vulnerable. The proposed alternative won't have that depth of experience on the line, nor the ability to link in with the Plunket community network.

“To remove Plunket from this vital service will totally undermine the entire Plunket service.

“Helen Clark has always said she is a firm supporter of Plunket Line, it’s time she put her money where her mouth is and gave it a future,” says Dr Brash.


Helen Clark on Plunket Line:

“We will move to fund the Plunket line for 24 hour coverage,” - Helen Clark (November 1999) Speech to Wellington Campaign Rally.

“The reasons why the Government and its many health bureaucracies won’t fund Plunketline go beyond mere pennypinching,” - Helen Clark (March 1995) Speech to Royal NZ Plunket Society’s 52nd National Conference.

Labour’s ‘detailed economic and social policy’includes… “Funding the Plunket hotline for 24 hours a day to give all parents access to free healthcare advice for their small children,” - Helen Clark (May 1995) Speech to Invercargill Rotary Club.

“I want to make a special plea for government funding of Plunket Line. It was Labour’s policy to fund it because we have been very impressed by the service. With more funding to operate more lines with more nurses, it could have been even better... But would it not be tragic if the result of cutting back on Plunket Line’s hours or its closure altogether was to be an increase in the number of infants’ and children’s deaths or near misses with illnesses like meningitis? Plunket Line does deal with real emergencies and with situations which if not dealt with speedily could become emergencies,” ­- Helen Clark (April 1997) Speech to Royal New Zealand Plunket Society.

“My government will expand early intervention programmes. The first step will be to fund the Plunket Line service on a 24 hour a day, seven days a week basis,” – Helen Clark (December 1999) Speech from the Throne.

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines


Sector Opposes Bill: Local Government Bill Timeframe Extended

The Minister of Local Government Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga has asked the Select Committee to extend the report back date for the Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill (No 2). More>>


Breed Laws Don’t Work: Vets On New National Dog Control Plan

It is pleasing therefore to see Louise Upston Associate Minister for Local Government calling for a comprehensive solution... However, relying on breed specific laws to manage dog aggression will not work. More>>


Not Waiting On Select Committee: Green Party Releases Medically-Assisted Dying Policy

“Adults with a terminal illness should have the right to choose a medically assisted death,” Green Party health spokesperson Kevin Hague said. “The Green Party does not support extending assisted dying to people who aren't terminally ill because we can’t be confident that this won't further marginalise the lives of people with disabilities." More>>


General Election Review: Changes To Electoral Act Introduced

More effective systems in polling places and earlier counting of advanced votes are on their way through proposed changes to our electoral laws, Justice Minister Amy Adams says. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Our Posturing At The UN

In New York, Key basically took an old May 2 Washington Post article written by Barack Obama, recycled it back to the Americans, and still scored headlines here at home… We’ve had a double serving of this kind of comfort food. More>>


Treaty Settlements: Bills Delayed As NZ First Pulls Support

Ngāruahine, Te Atiawa and Taranaki are reeling today as they learnt that the third and final readings of each Iwi’s Historical Treaty Settlement Bills scheduled for this Friday, have been put in jeopardy by the actions of NZ First. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The Damage De-Regulation Is Doing To Fisheries And Education, Plus Kate Tempest

Our faith in the benign workings of the market – and of the light-handed regulation that goes with it – has had a body count. Back in 1992, the free market friendly Health Safety and Employment Act gutted the labour inspectorate and turned forestry, mining and other workplace sites into death traps, long before the Pike River disaster. More>>

Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news