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Govt should explain why Plunket is missing out

Jo Goodhew MP
National Party Associate Health Spokesman

17 June 2008

Government should explain why Plunket is missing out

National Party Associate Health spokeswoman Jo Goodhew says Labour needs to explain why funding for Plunket means some kids and families are missing out on their entitlements.

Mrs Goodhew is referring to reports out of Otago this week, that the area office of Plunket has spent its budget before the end of the financial year because more babies had been enrolled than expected. That has forced Plunket to delay some programmes for two-year-olds and negotiate with funders for money to cover the gaps.

"Surely the funding should be flexible enough to avoid Plunket delaying services for families because of the baby boom. There's something wrong with the funding system here.

“Plunket is a Kiwi institution. It has offered valuable services to new mums and dads for generations and it deserves greater support. It would get it under a National Government.

“There are two things Labour could do that would make a real difference.

“First, Labour should reverse the decision to withdraw funding for PlunketLine.

“And second, the Government should move to fund more visits for new babies, and their mums and dads.”

Mrs Goodhew, a former nurse and MP for Aoraki, says giving our kids a good start in life should be a priority for Labour.

“In the past nine years the most memorable contribution this Labour Government has made to Plunket was the attempt to force PlunketLine out of business.

“This was in spite of Helen Clark’s campaign as Leader of the Opposition to make the PlunketLine a 24-hour-a-day seven-day-a-week service. But once in power, Labour even went as far as setting up a competing phone service,” says Mrs Goodhew.

National believes that women must be able to have confidence that there is a seamless handover between midwives and Plunket (or other well-child provider) and that the service families receive is professional and received in a timely manner.

ENDS

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