Labour would revive Whanau Ora policy

A Labour Government would review the Maori Party's flagship Whanau Ora policy, Maori Affairs spokeswoman Nanaia Mahuta says.

Ms Mahuta said she had met social service, youth, justice and health providers "who are looking at the way in which services are provided to improve outcomes for whanau".

She also noted that $15 million in extra funding for Whanau Ora would not be available until next year, after Maori Party Co-leader and Whanau Ora champion Tariana Turia retired.

"While the minister may feel emotionally attached to her programme it is important that future commitments under a Labour Government are based on outcomes achieved and evidence that underpin the strength based approach in the Whanau Ora model."

She said Labour Leader David Cunliffe had acknowledged that Government services could sometimes be delivered better by Maori for Maori communities and had made a commitment that Labour was "willing to innovate and move forward on Whanau Ora".

"We want whanau to have a warm, dry homes to raise their children, good paying jobs and the very best opportunities for our young people", Ms Mahuta said.

"A review of Whanau Ora against this policy context allows a new opportunity for positive change to occur and we are proud to champion that new vision."


What is Whanau Ora? Whanau Ora (Well Families) is a Government welfare policy initiated by the Maori Party. It is open to everyone, but its focus is on Maori families.

How does it work? Social agencies work with whanau to help identify and improve problem issues such as poor housing, health, education and legal problems. They ask the family to plan a future which moves them from state dependency to become financially independent and healthy participants in their community.

How much funding does it receive? Whanau Ora receives $40 million of government money each year. This year, responsibility for awarding contracts will be held by three non-governmental commissioning agencies, to be set up from within the community sector.


- By Adam Bennett of the New Zealand Herald

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