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Plunket confirms Clark told porkies over hotline

Jo Goodhew MP
National Party Associate Health Spokeswoman

9 November 2006

Plunket confirms Clark told porkies over hotline

National Party Associate Health spokeswoman Jo Goodhew says Helen Clark was “retailing a cocktail of mistruths” as she sought to justify the call to axe funding for PlunketLine.

“The evidence given at select committee is crystal clear. Labour loaded the dice against Plunket by limiting its contract then claimed they hadn’t been delivering. Helen Clark used this to deceive the public.

“The truth is, Plunket was delivering within the targets set by the contract, had addressed concerns raised about unanswered calls and still were dumped,” says Mrs Goodhew.

Parliament's Health Select Committee is considering a petition signed by 53,129 people calling for government funding to be reinstated to PlunketLine.

Plunket argues that though the decision was only made this year, the ministry had been trying to ‘squeeze Plunket out’ for around five years.

“The proof that parents know and trust the Plunket brand is in the fact that PlunketLine nurses are still answering calls at a rate of 6,000 per year and the Government is getting away with not funding it.

“In the meantime, other services provided by Plunket, mainly through fundraised dollars, have to be scaled back, while Plunket does the Government’s job for them.

“This is a service that Helen Clark promised to take care of. Instead, she’s resorted to mistruths and deception to justify this blatant betrayal.

“It’s callous and it’s cynical, and the parents of New Zealand deserve far better.”

Mrs Goodhew says Plunket was given guarantees by Helen Clark that the hotline would be funded for 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week.

“National wants to see private providers like Plunket recognised. The Government must understand that there are many groups in our communities who have much to contribute. State control is not the answer to every question.”

ENDS

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