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Labour supports Plunket

Written By: - Date published: 12:47 pm, August 8th, 2013 - 61 comments
Categories: babies, david shearer, health, labour - Tags:

Another good policy announcement from David Shearer:

Labour pledges $6m for Plunket

Labour would inject an extra $6 million into Plunket if elected, leader David Shearer announced today.

Shearer called Plunket ”a national treasure” that needed more money to build on its tradition of helping the youngest and most vulnerable in society. The $6m would primarily go towards extra nurse visits in the home.

“Too many of our kids fall through the cracks and suffer neglect, hardship and abuse. Given we spend an estimated $6 billion a year on the effects of child poverty, and children having a poor start in life, this is just one way we can start to invest in order to save.”

Labour’s press release is here, and fact sheet here. Good stuff!



61 comments on “Labour supports Plunket”

  1. Matthew Hooton 1

    All oppositions support Plunket.
    All governments try to make the services contestable.
    It is enormously politically powerful.

    • vto 1.1

      national supports rio tinto

      there it is in big bold headlines for all the world to see your worlds priorities mr hooton

    • richard 1.2

      You left out a word in your 2nd sentence:

      All neo-liberal governments try to make the services contestable.

      • Populuxe1 1.2.1

        But Labour is neoliberal

        • Enough is Enough

          r0b might disagree with you there

        • richard

          They certainly have been neo-liberal since 1984. Who knows what the future may hold?

        • Colonial Viper

          Indeed. Dead easy to tell a neoliberal political party. Their economic/monetary languaging revolves around: free trade, free markets, market access, market mechanisms, market efficiency, price incentives, de-regulation, inflation targeting, interest rate targeting, etc.

    • BLiP 1.3

      Awwww . . . cute babies!! As much as it makes my skin crawl, Hooten does sorta, kinda, maybe have something of a point. Instead of this cynical soppy PR fluff, how about something that would really benefit the babies – announce that Punket is to become the sole provider of post-natal care for all babies born at home or in public hospitals? Go further, make Plunket the sole provider of midwifery services, too. The public would lap it up, I’m betting. Also, it seems kind of creepy that the provision of such an essential service should go to the private profiteer offering the lowest tender.

      • Colonial Viper 1.3.1

        Ah yes, the State taking away new parents choices around prenatal and neonatal care and mandating who you have to use. That will be a real winner with the electorate.

        Go further, make Plunket the sole provider of midwifery services, too.

        What societal problem are you trying to solve with this grand centralisation?

        • Draco T Bastard

          What societal problem are you trying to solve with this grand centralisation?

          Economies of scale.

          It’s cheaper per person if everyone pays just a little bit than if the full amount is placed upon the person getting the service. It’s how insurance works which is why I keep saying that the best and cheapest insurance we have is society itself.

          • Colonial Viper

            Economies of scale.

            but there are no financial savings to be made by centralising and mass providing midwifery, and potentially a lot of costs including management and administrative overheads.

            • Draco T Bastard

              Who said anything about mass providing?

              The economies of scale come from the mass of people supporting the needed level of midwifery.

              • Colonial Viper

                So you’re going to increase the number of pregnancies occurring each year?

                • Populuxe1

                  No doubt by offering medals. Mutterehrenkreuz, anyone? Мать-героиня? Or maybe Turiana Turia’s bizarre thoughts on family planning.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  Which planet are you on?

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Apparently there’s economies of scale resulting from mass support of the midwifery profession. So are more people going to get pregnant or what?

                    Or are you just talking about 100% socialised provision of all healthcare?

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      Apparently there’s economies of scale resulting from mass support of the midwifery profession. So are more people going to get pregnant or what?

                      I really have NFI how you go from one point to the next. There is no logical connection.

                      Or are you just talking about 100% socialised provision of all healthcare?


        • BLiP

          What societal problem are you trying to solve with this grand centralisation?

          A paradigm shift which delineates natural human activities from those of the business paradigm. Its about taking back dignity from those who would reduce us all from citizens with rights to consumers with choice. Its altogether detrimental to society when the most vulnerable amongst us, those who need the greatest protection, are considered “outputs”. Its gone too far.

          • Colonial Viper

            Are pregnant women the most vulnerable amongst us?

            Do women who deal with these midwives feel that they have lost dignity, somehow?

            I agree with the principles you state but think that there are far more appropriate and important areas to make the point. Aged care and care for the intellectually disabled, for instance.

            • BLiP

              The most vulnerable are the new born. Yes, as a class, they have lost dignity by going from “mother” to “customer”. I’m not sure caring for the aged and disabled is any more or less important that pregnancy . . . its all on the continuum of human activities. But, yeah, in terms of dignity, our elderly are the ones who need most help at the moment. Perhaps if David Shearer had committed $6 million to making sure they all get fed decently we’d be talking about that.

            • Sable

              “Aged care and care for the intellectually disabled”-So maybe extra help for Bennett, Collins and Brownlee? (wink)

            • QoT

              Maybe not the most, but …

              Canterbury hospitals are intensifying their fight against domestic violence as figures show one in six pregnant women is physically abused.


              Many women are abused for the first time during pregnancy. When this happens it is a sign that the baby is in danger of being abused once born and later in life.


      • weka 1.3.2

        “Go further, make Plunket the sole provider of midwifery services, too. The public would lap it up, I’m betting.”

        Er, no they wouldn’t. You’d put all the independent midwifery services out of business for a start, and basically take away the ability of women to choose who attends them when giving birth. That’s the situation we had prior to the 90s and I can tell you it’s not what women want. The push to get independent midwifery and choices for birthing women in NZ was driven by health consumers as much as it was by professionals.

        • Colonial Viper

          The other thing is that this kind of centralisation of services is so much more susceptible to being fucked around with by the Tories when they inevitably get back into power.

          I really don’t understand why “the Left” likes to set things up so neat for Tories to then come in a couple of years down the track and privatise/corporatise/sell off at the stroke of a pen.

          • Draco T Bastard

            Put in laws that prevent it. It’s a simple one in fact, make selling off state services or even contracting them out liable to referendum. Try even to bypass the referendum and go to jail.

            • weka

              Are you really suggesting that midwives shouldn’t be allowed to practice independently?

              • tinfoilhat


              • BLiP

                Depends on what you mean by “independently”. Within a cooperative model, they can do whatever they like, within safety gounds. In fact, having various models being practised within the community would facillitate all sorts of positives like training, oversight, and reduced costs.

            • Colonial Viper

              But you can’t legislate against the sovereignty of a sitting Government.

        • Draco T Bastard

          You’d put all the independent midwifery services out of business for a start, and basically take away the ability of women to choose who attends them when giving birth.

          No, it would be that all the independent midwifery services would be fully supported and women would end up with more choice due to some of those independent services no longer failing under commercial pressure.

          • Colonial Viper

            Where is the issue of midwifery services “failing” even a problem?

            • Draco T Bastard

              I’ve seen many such articles in the MSM over the last few years. Our support of midwifery is, if those articles that I’ve read are any indication, actually very poor.

        • BLiP

          I’ll take your word for it. When it comes to having babies I am singularly unqualified. If I remember correctly, Annette King was the one who sought to apply the “business model” to the process of human birth. Can’t believe she’s still around. These “midwifery services” seem another tentacle in the privatisation by stealth model slowly being applied to health. Thanks Labour.

          How about the government really support Plunket, allowing it to employ all the midwives on a decent salary, and take over the provision of all pre- and post-natal services?? The midwives can organise themselves within Plunket into what ever various groupings they want (I dunno here, help me out, water births, home births, drug-free, full moon chanting, what ever) and the mums can pick and choose when they show up for the pre-natal stuff? That would get over the “choice” argument which is a neo-liberal PR shibboleth anyway. I would imagine such a cooperative venture run properly would provide such a good service the Tory bastards would get shouted down if they tried to flog it off. This sort of human activity seems far better to be nestled in a large community rather functioning in an atomised myriad of competing profiteers.

          • weka

            Ok, so let me see if I got this right. You want to take maternity services funding away from the health system and give it to a private organisation. And you expect that private organisation to allow its contractors to practice in whatever legal way they see fit, even if those practices are against the ethos of the private organisation (so presumably you need to either legislate for choice, or build it into the funding contract, hence another level of bureaucracy). Why bother? Why not just let the health system do it like it is now. Why on earth would you want to privatise maternity?

            “That would get over the “choice” argument which is a neo-liberal PR shibboleth anyway.”

            Fuck off. Choice in maternity services got established in this country from the power of the community. You really don’t know what you are talking about here BLiP.

            • BLiP

              No. You don’t know what I’m talking about.

              This market-ideology Trojan Horse called “Choice” has fractured the maternity services, just as National Ltd™ used it to splinter the electricity market. The problems over the last thirty-odd years have largely been a turf war between doctors who think they know best and midwives who think they know best. Rather than “privatise maternity”, I’m talking about removing the profit motive from the provision of health services. That means taking it back and then contracting the whole shebang out to one agency to administer. An agency that is a not-for-profit organisation already working in a related field with a brand unique to New Zealand and so respected as to qualify as a “lovemark”. In effect, consolidate what should be a unified effort to protect new life as it enters society and until it takes its first steps. Plunket would have to adapt, and the profiteers would have to go find some other activity where their business acumen can be more ethically applied. What ever “schools” of midwifery practise exist can still each do their own thing and, as a gateway, Plunket could provide information on all of them, thus bolstering informed decision making.

              So, “why not just let the health system do it like it is now”? Because it could be improved by refocusing on funding, linking up pre- and post-natal services, and putting the delivery of maternity services directly into the hands of the community.

      • Populuxe1 1.3.3

        That’s no baby, it’s David Farrar

    • Rosetinted 1.4

      Matthew H
      Give us a break. We have to have something to feel happy and hopeful about. Don’t pour cold water on the birthday candle.

  2. fender 2

    Great move…..but the Nats will scream: “show me the money”….but with a $30 million gift to Rio Tinto there’s obviously plenty of that about.

    Pay rises for all Tiwai Point management very soon, well done lads.

  3. Pete 3

    As I mentioned in Open Mike, it’s a smart move given how trusted Plunket is. And it builds on Shearer’s narrative around the Fonterra recall that when it comes to kids you can’t be too careful. At $6 million it’s hardly going to set the world on fire, but if it signals Labour is building a solid platform around family, housing and jobs, I think they can make some gains as we move into election year. Hopefully not at the expense of the Greens.

  4. Craig Glen viper 4

    A geat policy to support Plunket now lets watch Shearer deliver it!

    • Hami Shearlie 4.1

      Let’s not!! Too painful to watch Shearer any more!! I wince every time he opens his mouth. Labour are finished if Shearer stays – Couldn’t believe Annette King on Backbenchers saying Shearer was doing a great job – What is she on?

      • geoff 4.1.1

        What is she on?

        She’ll say whatever she has to say to keep that racket going, along with the rest of them.

        • Colonial Viper

          Std backbench MPs salary circa $150K pa

          She’s probably been around long enough to have the gold-plated super scheme as well

          • Pete

            Yeah, but she could probably score herself some directorships or consultancy gigs, given her cabinet experience. Certainly more money and less hassle.

            • Colonial Viper

              private sector corporates doesn’t hire ex-labour MPs into senior positions, and neither does the public sector; doubly so while a Tory government is in charge.

              The only exception might be individuals of great mana who have been shown to be able to work in a bi-partisan manner.

  5. Sable 5

    Good to see something being supported that doesn’t have “Ltd” after it. Keep up the good work Labour and you may yet make a good alliance partner for the Greens.

  6. DavidW 6

    Wow, didn’t see that coming. Particularly since Plunket-Line was de-funded during the last Labour Government for reasons that no-one could comprehend at the time.

    Was it some sort of personal issue that HC had so that DS can now feel free to announce a policy that is so close to being diametrically opposite that it doesn’t matter?

    It sure looks like DS is pulling policies out of thin air to cash in on the infant formula scare and may be seen as cynical. Risky

    • Sable 6.1

      That was probably down to horrible old Helen. Lets hope Shearer is a better person.

    • felix 6.2

      “It sure looks like DS is pulling policies out of thin air to cash in on the infant formula scare and may be seen as cynical. Risky”

      Nah, Labour cares about babies, Fonterra tries to poison them, and National doesn’t give a fuck. Where’s the cynicism in that?

      “Was it some sort of personal issue that HC had so that DS can now feel free to announce a policy that is so close to being diametrically opposite that it doesn’t matter?”

      Not sure if you’ve noticed, but Helen Clark is no longer leading the party. So yes, it doesn’t matter whether a current policy fits with her policies.

      Now if we could just get Labour to take the same approach to Roger Douglas’ policies…

      • Colonial Viper 6.2.1

        Nah, Labour cares about babies, Fonterra tries to poison them, and National doesn’t give a fuck. Where’s the cynicism in that?

        Last I saw, there was a Shearer press release closely shadowing the Government’s “this is not the time or place to rock the boat” line on the Fonterra scandal…

  7. lenore 7

    Ok I am all for it as long as they do something about the “holier than thou” manner of some of the plunket nurses. I was a young mum with my first and even with my second child another plunket nurse was so condescending and “put me in my place” that i didnt bother with the third. I know there are great ones as well but I thought it may have changed but I met a couple of plunket nurses this year as they are the bloody same as the ones I had! My mum also hated her plunket nurses so I wonder if they still have some ingrained culture from Truby King’s and his screwed up issues!

    Maybe all you bloggers had good experiences but I know plenty of mum’s who couldn’t stand their plunket nurses.

    • Sable 7.1

      Sorry to hear about your experience with Plunket. Our experience was the complete opposite, they were lovely to deal with and offered really good advice as we were both new parents. I think its fair to say that like any organization a persons experience can really be down to who you end up interacting with for better or sometimes worse.

      • lenore 7.1.1

        I think if you fit in with their “norms” you are ok but don’t question them lol. I still find it funny we support an organisation that was founded by one seriously fucked up dude. One of my friends was assessed as “at risk” because she was young and not married and she was treated like shit.

        i would much prefer midwives to take over the services instead of plunket nurses as i would have much preferred my midwife supporting me in a paid way beyond the six weeks. She did support me but not in a paid capacity as this was when plunket nurses took over,

        It would be nice for women to have a choice and certainly i will not encourage my daughters to bother attending to a plunket nurse should they have kids. Have a good midwife and keep the continuity of service pre and post baby.

        • Naturesong

          My parents received excellent service from Plunket during the period 1967 to 1976 (4 children).
          My family is white, middle class (proper middle class, and can trace it back to 1066). Being a lawyer or accountant is considered a base occupation (due to its corrupting influence), though we do have a couple of those in the family.
          The only concern my family had (unfounded at the time) was how much of the negative eugenic principles still infected the organisation.
          I image the story might be quite different if you were not white, or not middle class, or not educated or not Anglican.

    • idlegus 7.2

      m wife & i had had a very strange plunket lady, told us a bunch of weird stuff that our baby would be retarded, have a small head & a lisp! she wasn’t even 3 months old! needless to say we laughed in the nurses face (& our child is 5 now & doesn’t have a small head or retarded or have a lisp). but for all that, i support plunket because some people would need their services.

  8. Notice that no right winger has appeared demanding to know where the $6 million will come from??


    Wait for it…

    Wait for it…

    • DavidW 8.1

      Nah, we won’t bother Frank because you are going to tell us that it will come from cancelling the Puhoi -Wellsford Expressway, right?

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