Whānau Ora South Island head backs funding criticism

6:42 pm on 29 January 2020

The head of the South Island Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency has backed concerns that government departments are getting money earmarked for agencies.

whanau ora sign

Photo: RNZ / Mihingarangi Forbes

It comes a week after Māori leaders sought an urgent Waitangi Tribunal hearing over the handling of Whānau Ora funding.

Te Pūtahitangi o Te Wai Pounamu chair Tā Mark Solomon said that $35 million in Whānau Ora funding allocated in Budget 2019 had instead gone to Te Puni Kōkiri, Corrections and Ministry of Social Development for a project based in two North Island prisons.

"We agree with the concerns being raised that the unfulfilled promise of the report has not been realised, with funding channelled to government departments rather than direct investment to whānau."

He said an independent review in 2018 showed the Whānau Ora model worked, and was "making an impact in the community".

He "cautiously supports" the Tribunal claim, and hopes that as a result, the government will make sure the money is given to the agencies.

" just want them to find that, this is what your review found, this is the purpose behind Whānau Ora, it is working with the families to empower them, to bring change, it is not about putting the funding into government agencies."

Dame Tariana Turia, Dame Naida Glavish, Merepeka Raukawa-Tait, Lady Tureiti Moxon and Dame Iritana Tawhiwhirangi who submitted the Waitangi claim, will meet with the Prime Minister this week.

Whānau Ora commissioning agency chair Merepeka Raukawa-Tait.

Merepeka Raukawa-Tait Photo: Supplied

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