It's not quite 100 days since the new government was sworn in and took office, and we've had a hiatus over the Christmas/New Year holidays, but there has been a steady stream of policy announcements. And there is yet another tick in the Election Promise Kept column today, with the announcement of funding for the 24/7 Plunketline service. The Herald reports:
Plunketline this morning got confirmation of a $3.75 million grant to keep its 24-hour helpline going.
The Health Ministry ended public funding for the Plunket-operated well-child phone service in April 2006 in favour of McKesson New Zealand, which operates Healthline and successfully tendered for an integrated service.
Plunket then collected 53,000 signatures calling for funding to be restored but Cabinet did not support a re-think.
Health Minister Tony Ryall said today the extended service was being funded through a grant of $3.75 million over 15 months to the end of March next year ($3 million per annum). By that time, a review of well-child parent information programmes will have been completed and new contracting arrangements would be in place, he said.
Fast tracking funding for Plunketline was one of the National Party's commitments for its first 100-days of being in power.
On all fronts, it's a positive outcome. Plunket is delighted with Ryall's announcement describing it as a "great day for New Zealand families", the government gets a lot of bang (and a lot of feel-good publicity) for a relatively small spend, and National can enjoy a self-satisfied smile for another promise kept, especially when it reverses a decision taken by the last government. They are indeed keeping their word, and Keeping Stock applauds them for it.