The Labour Party is promising to commit an extra $6 million a year to child health providers like Plunket if it wins the next election.
It says the money would enable nurses to visit the most vulnerable mothers before their babies are born.
All new-born babies are currently eligible for seven visits from a service like Plunket, but Labour leader David Shearer says that under his party's proposal GPs or midwives would be able to nominate families most at risk to receive an additional three visits - two of which would be before birth.
Mr Shearer says New Zealand has an appalling record of vulnerable mothers not looking after their children properly. Under Labour's plan, he says, nurses would be able to educate about 18,000 new mothers.