Plunket and the slow strangulation of community organisations



Frank Macskasy - letters to the editor - Frankly Speaking


On 1 August, Titahi Bay resident, Anne Perry had this letter published in the Dominion Post;


letter to the editor - plunket


Ms Perry made pertinent points and raised the very real problem of funding cuts and terminated contracts for community organisations dealing with some of society’s most vulnerable and damaged people. Or helping people who were stressed from having to deal with life’s increasing pressures, complexities, and financial demands.

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I added my thoughts to her call for greater funding for our community organisations;


from: Frank Macskasy <>
to: Dominion Post <>
date: Tue, Aug 2, 2016
subject: Letter to the editor


The editor
Dominion Post


Anne Perry’s letter criticising under-funding for Plunket highlights an ongoing crisis faced by many community organisations. (letters, 1 August)

National has slashed funding or terminated contracts, forcing NGOs to cut front-line staff and services. Some have closed altogether.

Women’s Refuge, 198 Youth Health Centre, Auckland Sex Abuse Help, Rape Prevention Education, Parents As First Teachers programme, Community Law Centre, Smokefree Coalition, Lifeline, Relationship Services, early childhood education, is a litany of cut-backs and closures.

In other instances, contracts are terminated and re-awarded to other organisations, resulting in a loss of institutional knowledge and experience.

An example of near closure last year was the Problem Gambling Foundation.

This year, National has announced a “review” of Richmond’s Salisbury School, a facility that offers specialised education to girls with disabilities and high-needs.

Just as the sale of state housing has increased homelessness and over-crowding, the constant re-shuffling of services and funding cuts has predictable consequences.

National’s social policies are random and ad hoc.

There was money for a flag referendum; bailing out the Southland aluminium smelter; and a sheep farm in the middle of a Saudi desert to placate an irate Saudi businessman.

Meanwhile, Plunket goes begging with cap in hand.

What is wrong with this picture?


-Frank Macskasy


[address and phone number supplied]





Dominion Post: Women’s Refuge cuts may lead to waiting lists

NZ Doctor: Christchurch’s 198 Youth Health Centre to close its doors as management fails to implement directives from CDHB

Radio NZ: Support agencies forced to cut frontline services

NZ Herald: Govt funding cuts reduce rape crisis support hours

Fairfax media: Lifeline faces closure as Government rejects pleas for funding

TVNZ News: Relationships Aotearoa hanging on at ‘awful’ 11th hour

Radio NZ: ‘Destabilising’ funding changes proposed

TVNZ News: Kiwi charities and NGOs face closure with impending funding cuts

Radio NZ: Community groups ‘fear speaking out’

NZ Herald: Funding win for Problem Gambling Foundation

Scoop media: Budget delivers funding cut to early childhood education

Radio NZ: Funds cut from parents-as-teachers scheme

Fairfax media: Marlborough Violence Intervention Project upset at funding cut to Parents As First Teachers programme

Fairfax media: Richmond’s Salisbury School may close in January

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The cupboard is bare, says Dear Leader

CYF – The Hollowing Out of a State Agency

Park-up in Wellington – People speaking against the scourge of homelessness



= fs =


  1. Yes Frank, clearly those services needed to go by the wayside to cover the costs of the most important referendum in our history’

    The Flag!

    Can you see the relevance here. Key wants a legacy, kiwi’s are irrelevant.

    • Thank you Frank. Per chance did they publish your letter or was it too anti government for the patsies in the media ?

  2. Excellent summation, Frank. Money for flags, but none for Plunket.

    It seems the only “baby” Key wants to support are his pet vanity projects!

  3. Greetings Frank.

    To me, our 1978 and 1981 general elections, the two in which National became government with a minority of total votes thanks to electoral boundary rigging, mark the time of that party’s first open steps towards unfairly favouring the wealthy few at the expense of everyone else.

    Nothing about individual responsibility, encouragement to work etc. Just our first two examples of election rigging.

    Moral : if you are wealthy, you get to cheat, or have it done for you. When found out, you escape justice, but the loophole gets closed on your corrupt behaviour.

    But it doesn’t stop them going on looking for new ways to cheat. Why wouldn’t they? Didn’t they show us back then what stuff they’re made of?

    Currently we still get to read people stating they don’t believe general elections are rigged.Surely by now that should be seen as the ludicrous claim, the ‘non-conspiracy theory’. And anyone claiming that the National party is somehow committing electoral fraud should be believed in the first instance rather than not.

    Similarly, anyone who claims that what the government is doing to society is calculated and planned destruction should be believed in the first instance. The idea that they are really this bumbling and incompetent should be seen as the ludicrous ‘non-conspiracy theory.’

    The death of society by a thousand cuts, including today’s example of Plunket, must surely by now be out in the open as policy. Beneficiary bashing, however inhumane and demeaning to those who do it, does have a certain logic which enables some to believe that it helps beneficiaries by nudging/forcing them (often harshly or unrealistically but nevertheless) towards productive, meaningful work. The ‘be cruel to be kind’ idea.

    Cuts to Plunket however lack that logic, as they cannot be claimed to be encouraging babies into meaningful work.

    Isn’t the difference obvious? On what grounds can anyone validly claim that this isn’t part of a carefully calculated plan to destroy society as we know it?

    Sometimes cabinet ministers appear to be bumbling. If they are really competently, deliberately destroying society (criminal, presumably) wouldn’t they prefer us to think them incompetent (essentially not criminal) ?

    Again and again they ‘stumble’, again and again it gets pointed out, and as long as it goes on working for them they will go on doing it. Getting gradually nearer their goal,concealing as long as possible what it is until they’re near enough to sprint for it and not be stopped in time.

    • Ye,s they cheat the system they created daily. This can be evidenced by their Cosby and Textor responses to answers e.g.

      “no, you are wrong” or,
      “no but what I can say is”,or
      “in the context it was said” or,
      “not in the capacity as minister/prime minister”
      ” that is not my department” or,
      “that is just hysteria”

      So as history tells us, cheats and liars will
      * perjure,
      * false witness,
      * prevaricator and
      *be the spinner of yarns.

      So thank you George for reminding us all of the last 8 years.

      • They also create the new reality Bert: Listen for it next time a Nat or coalition member opens his/her mouth.

        “In actuality…
        “The reality is…
        “The fact of the matter is…
        “I think you’ll find that the truth of the matter is…
        “Most New Zealanders are happy with the current situation of …

        But whenever I hear these weasel words, my “polished-turd-with-glitter-on” detector goes off.
        Bullshit and fuckwittery alerts go off everywhere.
        My forehead-slapping, “Oh shit here we go again alarms go off….”
        Or mostly just a “FFS-moment”

        And not a mainstream media pundit “light-flickering” going off in sight.

        • By the way, does anyone “in reality”, know where John Key stood on the Springbok Tour? The reality is, and you’ll find the truth of the matter is, that most New Zealanders don’t really, in actuality, give a rat’s patouti, because John Key is the most revered PM in history.

          Did I say revered? I meant to say reviled, sorry, a right-wing slip of the tongue!

          Isn’t reality and perception a funny thing at times?

        • The mainstream media, that is the NZ Herald, release hard hitting international stories, that is of Peter Dunne and how to tie a bow tie( now that WILL sell papers)!

      • Yes Bert, every time I hear those words, I wish I had a cupboard full of dildos, to reach into and throw at the perpetrator/s of the Crosby-Textorisms.

  4. It is worthwhile to remind everyone that this is another example of the born-again right-wing monetarists, who had access to free or minimal cost health and education when they were young, wanting to deny that to young people now.
    Because they are a greedy, selfish, bunch of troughers.
    End of story.

  5. Thanks Frank for Anne Perry’s letter, which I agree with.

    Our two children were Plunket babies for which I am most appreciative, particularly as I suffered post natal depression after the birth of our first child. Without the support and encouragement of our local Plunket nurse, I honestly don’t know how I would have coped, or what the alternative outcome might have been! A scary thought!

    NZ was internationally envied for its great social system, where every NZer from birth to death was valued and respected for who they were and treated accordingly. Plunket in this regard, was NZ’s point of difference, offering Kiwi children a healthy start to life, while offering mothers all the support services they needed during those vulnerable early years.

    As such, Plunket should be high on government’s financial support list!

    Now looking back, knowing what we once had and what we could still have if government was not hell bent on running down essential services, Plunket being one, I realize how far NZ has shamefully fallen!

  6. I was looking at my own plunket book a while back – it’s 53 years old. In it, the nurse had written in some dietary recommendations for my mother – it was clear to see that she was recommending a healthy varied diet. Given the fractioning of families in search of jobs etc, parents need their support even more than they did then. I get cross to see all the preventative services like plunket go under-funded which leads to more funding for the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff.

  7. Well put, Frank. I hope it is published.

    Unfortunately the middle classes don’t complain about cuts to community services until it affects them, personally. Same goes with housing; the middle class didn’t give a shit until exploding house prices affected them

    That is the sad reality of our so-called “egalitarian” society.

  8. One the saddest things about this current National Government is that it has cut off/underfunded so many of New Zealanders last lifelines for help….and they wonder why suicides have increased.
    This government and NZ M$M should hang their collective heads in shame.

  9. If Dr Truby King appeared now, he would be written off by the government and the MSM as a raving left wing nutter, which is how anyone with any good ideas to help the nations children or disadvantaged persons nowadays is labelled.
    The only good ideas come from the filthy rich, right-wing 1% so it seems today.

  10. The letter got published today. Excellent effort, Frank!

    Hopefully it will help a conversation start rolling on the Nats chronically underfunding community groups. New Zealanders need to know where their money is going, or in this case, where it’s not going!

    They also need to understand that tax cuts eqate to social spending cuts. It may mean a few extra bucks in the pockets for some (and a truckload of money for the top 10% usually), but at the end of the day it means less money to invest in community groups, social services, and problems begin to snowball.

    Once again, good effort Frank.

  11. What’s wrong with this picture Frank? Well from nationals point of view nothing as the breaking apart of the cornerstone of society,the family, is the goal! I have noticed the regulations brought to bear have the intention of destroying the family unit for some time and unfortunately it’s not just national government tightening the noose.

  12. OK come on TDB — why are you yet again limiting freedom of speech ? ?
    Why is the term AGENDA 2030 such a – no no no and what are you all doing to expose the real agenda behind the worldwide horror story over under funding social services ; education ; health care etc. . . worldwide ? Why are so many closed off to the truths behind the U.N. ?

    I feel we need to not only expose the culprits, but also look at getting out from under their influence and healing the mess they created.
    Otherwise aren’t we spinning wheels round and round ?

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