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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Whanau Ora unfunded

Labour's Maori spokesperson Parekura Horomia has slammed the lack of dedicated additional funding for the Maori Party's flagship Whanau Ora policy.

The Government announced today that Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia would be Minister Responsible for Whanau Ora, and the new service delivery model would be overseen by a governance board including three members of the Whanau Ora taskforce and the heads of the Health and Social Development and Maori Development ministries.

But it says it will be funded within the existing budgets of those three ministries.

Mr Horomia says it's shuffling the deck chairs on the Titanic rather than addressing the problems facing Maori.

“Where is the resource added to supporting whanau ora and what is the specific policy because it does look like a bit of a rehash of progammes that are already in there,” Mr Horomia says

He says the previous Labour government put a lot of effort into integrating contracts and getting government agencies working together, so what's proposed is nothing new.

MAORI AND PASIFIKA STUDENTS JOIN FORCES

Maori students have joined in this year's Pacific Island Tertiary Students Convention at Waikato University to compare notes on common issues.

Rakai Te Hau O'Donnell from Auckland University of Technology says issues such as low retention rates and changes to funding and admission policies have a major impact on Maori and Pacific students.

He says a united approach is needed at this time to overcome barriers and get better support programmes.

PIONEER BATTALION FOOTAGE FOR ANZAC FILM SHOW

Auckland War Memorial Museum will show rare film of the Maori Pioneer Battalion as part of its lead up to ANZAC Day.

The two-minute clip of Te Hokowhitu A Tu's welcome home by Ngati Whatua in 1919 will form part of a 20 minute sequence being projected onto the museum's north wall on April 23 and 24.

It also includes footage of Anzac soldiers in Gallipoli which has been digitally restored by Weta Workshop.

Spokesperson Caleb Starrenburg says the museum is expecting a lot of interest from Aucklanders.

Museum visitors will also be able to sign a digital book of remembrance.

TURIA DEFENDS INNOVATION IN SERVICE DELIVERY MODEL

The Minister Responsible for Whanau Ora is shrugging off criticism the new social policy initiative lacks detail or funding.

Tariana Turia says the May budget will reveal how money already in health, social development and Maori development ministries will be reallocated to the policy.

The Government says no new money is available.

Mrs Turia says the Opposition wasn't prepared to try anything as innovative while it was in power, and it failed to get value for taxpayer dollars.

“There's billions of dollars being spent in the social and health sectors as we know but we actually have no way of knowing how much of that reaches right there into the family where it’s most needed. I’m really pleased that this government has had to courage to step up and say we can try a different way of doing this and the state isn’t necessarily the best people to do this,” Mrs Turia says.

She says Whanau Ora will put Maori families in charge of their own development.

FEAR WHANAU ORA WILL MEAN CUTS IN SOCIAL SECTOR

But Labour's welfare spokesperson says Whanau Ora will come at a high cost to the rest of the social sector.

Ruth Dyson says National is playing the Maori Party for fools by refusing to put extra money into the new method of service delivery.

She says the previous Labour government encouraged community groups and government agencies to find better ways to work together, and many of those services face cuts to fund the Maori Party's trophy policy.

“There is not spare money sloshing round in district health boards. There is not spare money sloshing round in Social Development. By moving $1 billion out of them into Whanau Ora, we will see cuts to really good community, social service and health programmes. This is crazy,” Ms Dyson says.

KAI THEM FOR MAORI LANGUAGE WEEK

The Maori Language Commission hopes people will make a meal out of this year's Maori language week.

It's chosen food as the theme for language acquisition and use for the last week of July.

Wayne Ngata, Te Taura Whiri's acting chief executive, says everybody interacts with kai on a daily basis.

Taura Whiri is considering repeating a previous successful initiative of distributing booklets of Maori words and phrases through supermarkets.

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