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Plunket Line set up to fail - Brash

Don Brash MP National Party Leader

10 April 2006

Plunket Line set up to fail - Brash

National Party Leader Don Brash says Helen Clark has failed to understand that it is Plunket that Kiwi mums and dads want advice from.

"It's truly appalling that Helen Clark has betrayed Plunket with her Government's decision to axe funding for its 24-hour hotline service," says Dr Brash.

"The fact is that Plunket Line has been underfunded by this Labour Government, who categorically promised to protect the service. Helen Clark has effectively set it up to fail.

"This iconic service was contracted to take between 60,000 and 70,000 calls a year, but has been receiving more than 130,000 - they have done their best with what they have.

"Mums and dads prefer Plunket Line because they get advice from trusted Plunket nurses. They don't want to end up on the line with a health line worker who does not specialise in child health.

"I am urging Helen Clark to review this decision and do the right thing.

"Helen Clark told at least two separate Plunket meetings that her Government would protect Plunket Line, no ifs, no buts, no maybes.

"She left absolutely no room for doubt.

"Yet today, her Government prioritises things like the tax-funded pledge cards ahead of the Plunket service. These priorities are all wrong.

"This is nothing short of an embarrassing disgrace. The least Helen Clark should do is meet Plunket to explain why she's had a change of heart," says Dr Brash.

Ends For fax copies of Helen Clark speeches to Royal New Zealand Plunket Society, 1995 and 1999, contact Kim Juergens 021 402 025.

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'.

ENDS

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