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Collins: Celebrating Families - 2 September 2008

Celebrating Families - 2 September 2008

2 September 2008

I recently attended the opening of the new Kip McGrath education centre in Beachlands. This is a fantastic service which will really benefit children in the area. The centre offers help with spelling, reading, English and maths but it’s not only for children who need help with their school work. Gifted children who want to be stretched can receive extra tuition to take them to the next level. I encourage any parents who want to see their child succeed to find out how Kip McGrath can help. Education brings knowledge which leads to a positive future.

PlunketLine has achieved another great result in the past 12 months answering 70,000 calls. That’s an increase on 55,000 over the same period last year. I’ve always advocated for PlunketLine because having that specialist help just a phone call away has calmed the anxiety of many parents – especially those new to the job. Calls are answered by registered nurses with expertise and postgraduate qualifications in child health. In some cases those calls have saved babies’ lives. Helen Clark’s government cut funding for PlunketLine in July 2006 and a petition signed by 53,000 New Zealanders was unsuccessful in having funding reinstated. It’s appalling that the line now must be self-funded and run in-house at Plunket offices. I applaud those who run this service and keep it alive. PlunketLine’s number is 0800 933 922. It is available from 7am to midnight seven days a week.

Finally the people of New Zealand will get their say about anti-smacking laws in a referendum. The Government has one month from August 26, when the petition was officially presented to Parliament, to name a date for a referendum or a postal ballot. The referendum will ask: “Should a smack as part of good parental correction be a criminal offence in New Zealand?” Many New Zealanders have said the referendum should take place at the election but the current Government has said it won’t allow that to happen. Instead there will be a postal ballot next year.

Remember it is Fathers’ Day on 7 September. It is a good day to acknowledge the great work that fathers’ do in providing great role models for their children. I wish all fathers’ a rewarding Fathers’ Day and hope the weather is fine so they can enjoy their day with their families.

Judith Collins
MP for Clevedon


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