Tamihere slams 'patch protection' in contracts

By Yvonne Tahana

Urban Maori leader John Tamihere says his trust is investing $20 million to make Whanau Ora a success, but government departments are going into patch protection mode.

Mr Tamihere is the chief executive of Te Whanau o Waipareira Trust, in Waitakere, which is gutting and renovating an old shopping centre block in Henderson.

The multimillion-dollar development will give Waipareira, which also has ambitions to be a supersized health service, the capacity to serve up to 120,000 people.

The Government's taskforce report is released today and Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia has said the programme will get $1 billion in funding - but not all in one budget year.

The cash is to come from existing budgets.

But Mr Tamihere said Waipareira already had difficulties dealing with bureaucrats who oversee trust contracts.

Scrutiny would probably increase as the introduction of the programme drew closer.

That was because the big ministries - Social Development, Education, Health - did not want their programmes or budgets cut, he said.

"You can't continue to renew programmes that don't work. We know what doesn't work because we see the results every day.

"A lot of people would like to see us in the gutter because we threaten their [projects].

"All that happens now is that mainstream providers have to prove that they've seen a number of people. They don't have to prove that in seeing them, they've fixed them."

Under Whanau Ora, Maori organisations would face higher accountability to get results in educational achievement, crime and health statistics - a situation he welcomed.

He doubted whether Te Puni Kokiri had the size or scale to co-ordinate Whanau Ora.

"It was never envisioned for something like this and I suppose that's an issue of caution."

Yesterday, a spokeswoman for Tariana Turia, who has led the policy's development, said she wouldn't comment before the report came out.

WHAT IS WHANAU ORA?

* Maori Party social policy.
* Whanau Ora workers will work with a single family who may have multiple issues across health, education, employment or the justice system.
* Aim is for a healthier, happier whanau and to cut down dysfunction.
* Te Whanau o Waipareira
* West Auckland social service provider.
* The trust looks after 49,000 people, 10,000 of them Maori.

- NZ Herald

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