New Zealand First leader Winston Peters has mounted a further attack on the Whanau Ora programme, describing it as a 'bro-ocracy' and questioning a $60,000 grant to a rugby club.
Mr Peters said the $60,000 grant was to the Rahui Rugby and Sports Club, based in Otaki "to research the vaguely-termed 'whanau connectedness' and 'resilience' in the community."
He said it was ridiculous the Government considered a small rural sports club an appropriate body to undertake economic and social research.
"In reality this is just another example of 'bro-ocracy' where taxpayers' cash is divided up amongst the bros for nonsensical purposes."
Whanau Ora minister Tariana Turia said she would get advice on the grant Mr Peters was referring to, but defended such grants under Whanau Ora.
"I'm not surprised a rugby club would start to look at getting their people to start addressing their issues. How great is that?"
She said Mr Peters was attacking organisations without considering the people they were helping.
"It's absolutely essential if we want families to start resolving their issues, they've got to come together to do that."
He said Whanau Ora's Whanau Innovation, Integration and Engagement Fund should be dismantled and the funding passed onto experienced Maori providers.
Mr Peters asked Prime Minister John Key how he could justify allowing such grants at a time when many Maori were in real poverty. He referred to a Northern Advocate report in which Kaitaia GP Lance O'Sullivan said a local garage owner had told him children were eating pigscraps from a bucket at his house.
Mr Key said he could not comment on the accuracy of that report, or the individual grant to the rugby club, but said Whanau Ora was aimed at families that needed significant support.
"Given the track record we've had in the past of being completely unsuccessful with those families, I would have thought trying a new way wasn't a bad idea."
Mr Peters previously highlighted a $3000 grant to Wellington man Johni Rutene to hold two family hui. Mr Peters said the fund, under which more than $5 million was given out last year, was effectively funding family reunions.
- NZ HeraldBy Claire Trevett @CTrevettNZH Email Claire