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C'mon Helen - honour your PlunketLine pledge

Jo Goodhew MP
National Party Associate Health Spokeswoman

15 December 2006

C'mon Helen - honour your PlunketLine pledge

National Party Associate Health spokeswoman Jo Goodhew says the Labour Government, and Helen Clark in particular must listen to the recommendation of the Health Select Committee and the families of New Zealand and fund PlunketLine.

"Helen Clark promised to fund PlunketLine as a 24-hour service and said she would expand the operation. She broke that promise."

Mrs Goodhew is commenting on a Health Select Committee report in which a majority of the committee members recommend that the Plunket well-child telephone helpline (PlunketLine) be Government-funded.

"This is a humiliating loss for Labour, and shows how out of touch they are with the parents and families of New Zealand."

Plunket has been raising money to fund PlunketLine since 1 July 2006 after Labour axed its funding.

"The thousands of calls that PlunketLine is still receiving proves that the families of New Zealand still trust PlunketLine, not the Government-funded Healthline. Parents are still ringing PlunketLine at a rate of 60,000 calls per year."

Mrs Goodhew says she fears Labour will continue to ignore the 53,129 people who signed the petition to reinstate PlunketLine, and the majority recommendation of the Health Select Committee.

"But it has become apparent during the committee's examination of this issue that there was an agenda to get rid of PlunketLine.

"In 1999, Helen Clark promised to fund the PlunketLine on a 24-hour-a-day, seven day-a-week basis. That pledge was a key election promise.

"Miss Clark will be judged at the next election by New Zealand's families on the emptiness of that promise. The rhetoric just doesn't match her record."

ENDS

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