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Labour Dubious About Whanau Ora Policy

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Annette King
Annette King

Wellington, Feb 11 NZPA - Secrecy around the Government's Whanau Ora policy is a sign that ministers couldn't agree about it, Labour's social development spokeswoman Annette King said today.

A report on a new way of delivering welfare to dysfunctional families was presented to Government yesterday.

However, details of what is in The Whanau Ora Taskforce's report are not being made public yet.

Whanau Ora is being championed by the Maori Party and co-leaders Tariana Turia and Pita Sharples have been discussing it with ministers.

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett previously said the concept was about bringing together the different welfare agencies, as well as the justice and housing authorities, to help families that were in difficulty. It would be for all groups, not just Maori.

However, Mrs Turia said today that if non-Maori groups wanted to take advantage of the policy they would have to form the policy themselves.

Ms King said the Government's handling of Whanau Ora was getting more ridiculous by the day and Prime Minister John Key needed to explain what was going on.

"This project is clearly causing major behind-closed doors problems and the Government can't even give a straight definition of what the policy entails."

The Government hopes the policy will get better value for money for the tens of millions of dollars the Government already spent each year providing services to needy and dysfunctional families.

In speech notes from the handover of the report, to which media were not invited, Mrs Turia said it called for integrated and coherent delivery systems.

The policy would require government agencies to be innovative and more flexible, she said.

"And perhaps for the first time, accountability for public spending will be for outcomes, rather than activity. This is about people being accountable for the difference they make."

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