Concerns about the lack of maternity services for one of the most rural areas of New Zealand was put before Parliament’s Health Select Committee meeting yesterday (Wednesday 10).
“The petition, which I presented to Parliament in May last year, calls for a sustainable model for rural-based midwifery in the Wanaka region,” said Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean.
“This is something that the community and the families who live there deserve, but right now the nearest base hospital is about three and a half hours drive away.
"The petition has been signed by 3843 people. To me this reflects the strength of feeling in Wanaka about the lack of maternity services. They are making a legitimate request to government for improved maternity support and I hope the government listens and acts.
“Save Our Wanaka Midwives group representatives Kristi James, Kimberley Davis and petition organiser Iona Bently deserve credit that their concerns have now been taken to the heart of our Parliament.
“We know that Wanaka is one of the most remote areas from a base hospital of any community in New Zealand and that poses massive concerns for expectant mothers who fear they will be unable to get emergency care when they need it.
“The best result for local women and the safety of their babies would be the establishment of a primary birthing unit in Wanaka. This would be a better option than the maternity hub which has been promised by the Southern District Health Board for the past 18 months but wouldn’t be operational until next year.”