27 Aug 2012

Treat Maori contractors differently - trust

8:49 pm on 27 August 2012

The High Court at Auckland has been told that the Crown should treat Maori social service providers differently to other commercial operations.'

Te Whanau O Waipareira Trust has brought a case against the Ministry of Social Development, after having its Family Start initiative for at-risk families cut on grounds that the scheme wasn't good enough.

But the trust says there's an agreement with the ministry that commits the Crown to act in good faith, and support the urban Maori authority in building their own services for tangata whenua.

Trust chief executive John Tamihere says they're a treaty-based contractor - not just any contractor.

He says they have a preferential right to deliver services to improve the lives of urban Maori in West Auckland, because it's clear the Crown hasn't.

Mr Tamihere acknowledges the trust has no right to underperform, but if they stumble and fall they shouldn't be kicked - they should be given another chance.

The case continues on Tuesday.