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Brackenridge: Benefits Of Deinstitutionalisation

Friday 29 October 1999


Today's opening of the new Brackenridge Estate for residents with intellectual disabilities and the planned relocation of the Waitaha Learning Centre would provide significantly improved care and education for the users of the old Templeton Centre, Prime Minister Jenny Shipley said today.

"I'm delighted to be here today to open this new facility just seven months after Health Minister Wyatt Creech planted a cherry tree to mark the start of construction.

"This opening brings to a conclusion some personal commitments I gave when I was Minister of Health and I am pleased that it has brought confidence in the system for all involved."

The new Brackenridge Estate has 14 new homes offering care for up to 86 residents with intellectual disabilities.

"The new facility is a fine example of the benefits of deinstitutionalisation which offers people better care and more flexibility and independence.

"This time three years ago during the election campaign some were arguing that we should not change and not close Templeton. Through the building up of trust and the delivering on the undertaking that every Templeton resident would have an individual plan for placement, we have got to where we are today. I am proud of everyone involved and I am delighted for the people who are now residents of Brackenridge Estate.

"I am also pleased to announce today that after consideration of a number of options for the future of the Waitaha Learning Centre, an agreement has been reached in principle between Healthlink South and the Ministry of Education that will enable the relocation of the Centre next door to Brackenridge.

"We are confident we will be able to overcome any remaining barriers to enable relocation to be in place by the time the existing Centre closes next year.

"This will provide a new home for students with intellectual disabilities who have been based at the current Waitaha Learning Centre at Templeton."

Mrs Shipley thanked the health and education officials, parents, community organisations and political leaders involved in making Brackenridge Estate a reality.

"We have come a long way since a young member of the Brackenridge family first attended Templeton Farm back in 1929.

"I would particularly like to thank former Templeton Parents' Association President Bill McIlhenny, former association members Val Newman and Heather Absolom-Smith, and New Zealand First MP Ron Mark for their tireless effort and hard work.

"I hope people will take note of the positive things, like Brackenridge, that can be achieved through deinstitutionalisation.

"I know there are concerns about other institutions like those in Levin which are going through similar changes right now and I invite those involved to look at Brackenridge and what it has done for the residents here," Mrs Shipley said.


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