John Hartevelt at Stuff reports:
Millions of taxpayer dollars have been handed out to organise family reunions, it has been alleged.
New Zealand First leader Winston Peters said this afternoon that about $6 million of tax-payer cash had been “squandered” on a Whanau Ora programme that funded “family reunions”.
“Whanau Ora is a waste of tax-payer’s money. It’s going to be a disaster for Maoridom. It’s a pet idea of the Maori Party and John Key is selling out on separatist policies,” Peters said.
He said an official Whanau Ora report showed more than 200 applications for the scheme – known as “Whanau Integration, Innovation and Engagement funding” – had been accepted.
The report says the fund is “available to support whanau, who, among other things, want to strengthen whanau ties”.
Peter’s hyperbole is as usual nearing hysterical and overblown. But underneath the hyperbole, he may have a valid issue.
I have no problem with the concept of Whanua Ora, and think it has the potential to improve outcomes for disadvantaged families.
But as with all Government spending, I would not be at all surprised if some of the programmes funded are of marginal benefit or value, and should be scrapped. And having Winston put the blowtorch on them is not necessarily a bad thing.
It would be unwise to jump to conclusions on the basis of allegations from Winston alone, otherwise we’d still be looking for the Cook Strait ferry that scraped the bottom, or the mystery fleet of WINZ BMWs. But I suspect in this case that some of the activities funded by the Whanau Integration, Innovation and Engagement fund are deserving of further scrutiny.
Worth noting this Dom Post article gives more details of the case cited:
However, Mrs Turia said the Rutene whanau plan included advancing education, employment, health, and cultural identity outcomes.
“The mechanism for this process of transformation was six hui,” Mrs Turia said. “I don’t know of any whanau that would have six ‘family reunions’ in one year. That is just ridiculous.”
Government spending on Whanau Ora would be more effective at empowering families to take control of their situations, and lead to savings when ongoing state support was no longer needed, she said.
“Families working together to improve their health, education and abilities to contribute to their communities are also role modelling for future generations.”
As I said, the aims are good. Whether the desired outcomes eventuate may be another matter.Tags: Whanua Ora, Winston Peters