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Plunket deserves common courtesy from PM

Don Brash MP
National Party Leader

11 April 2006

Plunket deserves common courtesy from PM

National Party Leader Don Brash says Helen Clark should show Plunket some common courtesy and agree to a meeting to discuss the decision to abandon her 1999 promise to ‘fund the PlunketLine for 24 hour coverage’.

“Today marks PlunketLine’s 12th birthday, the least the Prime Minister could do is hear their concerns about the decision to axe funding. Instead she’s fobbing them off to talk to Pete Hodgson.

“Helen Clark’s fingerprints are all over this. It shows a lack of courage that she won’t now confront those who she once promised to help.”

Dr Brash says Plunket has made no secret of the fact that it harboured serious concerns about the way that PlunketLine was set up to fail.

“In 2004 Annette King was assuring parents that ‘recent media reports that conveyed to the public that PlunketLine was going to be scrapped. This is not true’. In March last year she said she was ‘pretty relaxed’ about the call answer rate and the same month she said she was ‘satisfied that as more PlunketLine nurses are employed the call handling rate will improve’.

“Labour lulled Plunket, and the young mothers and babies who rely on the service, into a false sense of security. It’s not as if Plunket didn’t ask the right questions.”

In response to a written question in November, the Health Minister confirmed she had received at least four letters from Plunket officials who were dissatisfied with the incorporation of PlunketLine into Healthline.

“Plunket had received categorical promises that Labour would continue funding the information hotline. Their faith has been rewarded with betrayal and deception.

“Helen Clark should do the right thing. She should intervene and honour her promise to properly fund the service,” says Dr Brash.


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