4 Jun 2015

Māori social services trust faces closure

9:19 pm on 4 June 2015

The Raukura Waikato Social Services is to close due to issues surrounding the financial management of the organisation.

Last week, the trust lost its contracts with the Ministry of Social Development, the Corrections Department, and the Ministry of Justice.

On Friday, it was confirmed that the police had been called in.

In its first comment since the contracts were suspended, the trust said a report by Deloitte, which was commissioned by the Ministry of Social Development, had raised serious financial management issues and the trustees were taking appropriate action.

Trustee Huirama Matatahi said the investigation got underway after trustees contacted police.

He said staff were advised of the closure yesterday and it was effective immediately.

Mr Matatahi said the immediate and primary concerns were for the continuity of care for whānau, who had been receiving support from the trust, and that the needs of staff were being addressed.

He said trustees were working with contract funders to explore the possibility for current programmes being transferred to other suitable Waikato-Tainui providers.

Mr Matatahi said that would ensure that whānau continued to receive the support they needed.

He said, by transferring the programme, trustees were hopeful it would result in some staff retaining their jobs.

The trust has confirmed that one of its priorities is to ensure staff are paid any wages owed.

It said it would not comment further until the outcome of the police investigation was known.