Power plug pulled on Porirua health service

TESSA JOHNSTONE
Last updated 05:00 16/07/2014

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A Porirua community health service has had its electricity cut off - and says it's in the dark about the reasons why.

Pacific Health Service was cut off on Monday morning by Genesis Energy, which believed the service to have moved out of its premises in Bedford Court.

Genesis said it could be reconnected only with the permission of the Whanau Centre, from which the service leases its offices.

Pacific Health Service staff member Tovila Fomai said that, when a colleague asked the Whanau Centre to make the call to get it reconnected, the Whanau Centre refused.

Fomai said the service had not been able to use its phones or computers, and had to turn away clients because it was too cold for them. "It's dark, it's cold, it's revolting."

Whanau Centre chief executive Liz Kelly said the organisation had no control over the health service's power supply, and it was not true that it was refusing to help.

She referred any other questions to deputy board chairman Tom Etuata, who said it should be the Pacific Health Service's responsibility to sort out the situation with Genesis Energy. However, if help was required from the Whanau Centre, he was sure the managers could resolve the issue between them.

The service has been asked to move out of the Bedford Court premises by the end of November because the Whanau Centre is expanding its services.

But chief executive Eleni Mason said last week the request to move out had come as a "total surprise" and was forcing it to shift into a rundown, cramped space nearby. The service was on a month-to-month lease, and had been at the Whanau Centre for the past 12 years.

Porirua city councillor Litea Ah Hoi said she found the electricity situation "absolutely unbelievable".

"My biggest concern is for people who are affected . . ."

She thought it was inappropriate for a community organisation such as the Whanau Centre to be behaving in such a way.

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- The Dominion Post

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