The closure of several maternity units over the Christmas-New Year break is concerning and shows just how much support new mums need at this time of year, Taupō MP Louise Upston says.

“Becoming a mum is an emotional time and it’s important mums have access to the right support, whether that’s with breastfeeding, bonding or something as simple as being able to stay in the postnatal facility of their choice.

“National will give all new mums the right to three days’ stay in a postnatal facility of their choosing to ensure they’re not pressured to leave sooner than they’re ready. The money will be ring-fenced so that if one mum doesn’t need to stay for three days, the funds will stay in the pot to be used for those who need a longer stay.

“Alongside Mothers Matter, we’re campaigning for better care for all new mums.

“Rural birthing units have come under pressure, with the most recent to close being in Ōpōtiki.

“Rural mums face the challenge of distance from primary and tertiary birthing facilities. We’ll restore Lumsden Maternity to being a fully operational birthing unit, and will partner with the community to build a new birthing unit in Wanaka, which has seen rapid population growth, so that Wanaka mums have access to a local facility.

“We’ve also proposed improving midwives’ pay – because we know just how important it is that midwives are valued for the work they do.

“National is committed to ensuring that new mums have the right support to get off to the best possible start with their new babies.

“We want mums to be supported all year round, especially at Christmas.”

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