Possible sale of Plunket buildings

Two Otago Plunket buildings are being eyed as potential candidates for sale as the preschooler health organisation looks to remain ‘‘financially secure’’.

A Whanau Awhina Plunket spokeswoman said community consultation over the possible sale of the Plunket rooms in Palmerston and Middlemarch had begun in earnest, but no final decisions had been made yet.

About half a dozen other Plunket buildings around Otago and Southland were also being considered for sale, but staff were still working through the process and needed approval before proceeding further, she said.

‘‘We are looking to make some changes to our property portfolio in order to remain financially secure, and ensure our entire operation is fit for purpose to best support the way we deliver our services.

‘‘One of these key changes is to exit the residential property market. This is not our core business and takes our focus away from the communities who need it.

‘‘The changes to the Healthy Homes Standards which took effect from July 1, 2021, would also mean an increase in building outgoing costs for Plunket - something we are not in a position to sustain as a charity.’’

She encouraged anyone with an interest in the Palmerston or Middlemarch properties to provide feedback during the consultation process, which closes on October 31, at 5pm.

‘‘Any proposed or confirmed changes will be fully communicated, and we are engaging directly with impacted stakeholders to ensure they have an opportunity to [give] feedback at the appropriate time in this process.’’

The sale of any property would not reduce services offered in the areas at present, and the two properties under consideration did not have any services operating out of them.

‘‘Over the many years we’ve been supporting families, we’ve seen a fair amount of change in our communities, and we’ve adapted to these changing needs, including reshaping Whanau Awhina Plunket so that everyone is able to keep getting the support they need.

‘‘The ways that we currently provide support and deliver services include virtual calls, home visits, in-clinic sessions and PlunketLine, which is available 24/7.

‘‘Depending on Covid restrictions, we also hold hub days at Puketeraki marae in Karitane.

‘‘This means families and whanau can get support or services at times and in ways which work best for them.’’

john.lewis@odt.co.nz 

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