A radical reshaping of all social services could be imminent if the Government goes ahead with a Maori Party plan to reform services for Maori.

National Party ministers appear to implicitly support Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia's plan to bundle multiple contracts for Maori health, education, housing, justice and social services into integrated "Whanau Ora" contracts covering the whole spectrum of services for regional groups of Maori whanau.

A key worker would be appointed for each family under contracts giving Maori agencies wide scope to co-ordinate support for each family, rather than measuring numbers of doctor's visits and hours of social work, for example.

The plan is inspired by longstanding Maori ambitions for self-determination.

But if it goes ahead, it may be impossible to confine it to Maori families because Maori are now enmeshed in wider New Zealand society. About half the 565,000 people who identified themselves as "Maori" in the 2006 Census also identified with at least one other ethnic group, and half partnered Maori were living with non-Maori partners.

Virtually all the country's 270 Maori health providers, and all 11 Maori-led primary healthcare organisations (PHOs) which have formed a coalition to bid for a Whanau Ora contract, have non-Maori as well as Maori clients.

Mrs Turia said the idea "can be utilised across any ethnic group".

"We are starting with the Maori sector because they are the ones who have constantly raised this with me since I have been in Parliament," she said.

"All we are doing is moving it to that sector and eventually it would move to others as well. The Pacific Island people and the ethnic migrant groups are very keen on this concept because they understand the role of the extended family.

"People get trapped in having to work in a Eurocentric way with their people and they shouldn't have to be."

Submissions on a discussion paper on Whanau Ora close on November 30, and a taskforce led by Professor Mason Durie is to present final proposals to ministers by the end of January.

Meanwhile, Health Minister Tony Ryall last week named the Maori PHO coalition as one of nine consortiums to submit detailed plans by February 15 for new integrated primary healthcare services which may include Whanau Ora proposals.

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett has also approved a "high-trust" funding trial, bundling all her ministry's contracts into one at Te Tohu o te Ora o Ngati Awa (Ngati Awa Social and Health Services) in Whakatane and at a Catholic youth service in Christchurch.