Plunket confesses to failing Mori and Pacific infants.

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Plunket is the main supplier of Well Child Tamariki Ora health services in New Zealand, serving about 85 percent of the population.

However, an assessment of the programme for children under the age of five discovered that it falls short for Mori, Pacific, handicapped, and high-needs children and whnau.

Plunket’s CEO, Amanda Malu, stated that some families had been let down by both the programme and her organisation, and that they needed to do better.

“We absolutely acknowledge that the health system and the Well Child Tamariki Ora programme has failed Māori and Pacific families and we absolutely acknowledge our part in that,” she said.

“We have been very clear that as an organisation, Whānau Āwhina Plunket needs to do better and we have been working on ourselves for quite some time now in that area, and have done quite a bit of work really to think about how we can better deliver to Māori, Pacific, high needs whānau and those that are traditionally underserved by the system.

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“We don’t resile from those findings at all.”

Malu said Plunket is already making changes, but it was waiting to hear more details from the government about the next steps for the Well Child programme.

But she said the organisation would not be trying to hold on to its current funding levels or contracts.

“We are not particularly concerned with protecting our contract or our funding,” Malu said.

“We honestly believe that every baby in New Zealand needs the very best start in life that doesn’t have to be a Whānau Āwhina Plunket start in life.

“We think we have a lot to bring to the system and to offer the Well Child Tamariki Ora programme in the future, but I’m certainly not trying to hold onto our funding at the expense of the right outcomes.”

Malu stated that there was a lot more room for health practitioners to collaborate and exchange resources.

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Ayesha Verrall, Associate Health Minister, stated that alternatives and costs for the program’s transition will be discussed over the following year.


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