Admit you were right in 1997, Miss Clark
Prime Minister Helen Clark needs to be honest over Plunket Line funding. Despite promising Government funding of the service through Plunket in 1990, Miss Clark, via her Health Ministry has awarded the contract to a multi-national who is currently advertising for qualified staff to match the quality service that Plunket currently provides.
The Government has contracted Plunket Line to answer between 58,000 and 70,000 calls annually.Plunket Line currently exceeds that in answering 75,000 calls.
The problem is that Plunket Line gets 135,000 calls annually. Given that the demand is nearly twice what the Government is prepared to fund, why should Plunket either be ditched or expected to employ the extra staff out of donated funds because the Government is not sufficiently funding the service?
Why is the Government unhappy with Plunket's operation of the service? Health Officials have said it is not a funding issue. They also stated that it was not due to the abandonment rate or the quality of service.
So what was reason? In 1997 Helen Clark said in a speech,
" We have been very impressed by the service. With more funding to operate more lines with more nurses, it could have been even better".
There's your answer. It's high time Miss Clark admitted she was right in 1997. Now she has control of the purse strings, she should keep her promises, and fund them properly.