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Dropping the pretense: Whanau Ora privatisation

Written By: - Date published: 7:34 am, July 17th, 2013 - 43 comments
Categories: corruption, maori party, privatisation - Tags:

So, Tariana Turia is finally dropping the pretense that Whanau Ora is anything but a scheme to privatise social assistance and put it in the hands of unaccountable private groups. Not content with funding family reunions and other bollocks, Turia is now handing the funding decisions to three private groups. That’s private groups deciding who will receive public money. Oh and she doesn’t want them to be covered by the OIA.

Whanau Ora has always been a giant invitation to corruption. It’s never been about delivering anything new or different. It’s never been about helping Maori families in need. It’s always been about siphoning off a slush fund from which money disappears to highly paid ‘coordinators’ and ‘consultants’ and there’s never any accountability or any measuring of results. This latest step is just all part of the plan and will make it even harder to work out where the money is going and who is benefiting.

In my fondest dreams, I see the Maori Party failing to win any seats in 2014 and Whanau Ora being disestablished as a matter of urgency by the incoming Labour-Green government once they see the secret papers and learn the full extent of the waste and corruption Turia has fostered.

43 comments on “Dropping the pretense: Whanau Ora privatisation”

  1. framu 1

    “Oh and she doesn’t want them to be covered by the OIA.”

    ahh thats the final piece i was wondering about – news reports didnt mention that

    what i find really weird is that as much as it sucks, it seems these days if your getting funding for a maori initiative you need to be even more transparent and above board than most simply to avoid the all to predictable slurs and accusation that follow

    by going down this path it looks like tariana has just gifted a bloody huge stick to all the maori parties right wing detractors.

    disclaimer – yep, a pakeha talking about maori issues – i fully accept that people closer to the issue might see it differently

    • karol 1.1

      The NZ Herald article says this on OIA requests and Whanau Ora:

      It is believed the new structure could escape the scrutiny of the Official Information Act.

      Asked how it would be held accountable if it did, Mrs Turia said families would provide scrutiny.

      Maybe “assumed” because a private agency is not subject to the OIA?

  2. Santi 2

    A waste of funds from day one. The program deserves to be binned.
    Save us the money, please.

  3. freedom 3

    I feel sorry for the poor souls who will spend election night 2014 chained to the Government’s growing bank of shredders.

  4. Mary 4

    The Maori Party touts Whanau Ora as one of the huge gains it’s made for Maori through it’s partnership with Key and the moneymen but the reality is that it plays straight into the right’s agenda of washing its hands of responsibility for core services, less government and so on. Whanau Ora’s gone further by handing Key et al a “successful blueprint” they can use to justify more of the same across the board. This latest move is one more step in this process which won’t stop until the welfare benefit system has been fully handed over to the community sector and left to morph into state sanctioned private charity. Remember moves in the 1990s to begin adopting the “Wisconsin model”? They went about things a bit too fast back then for anything to stick properly but they certainly planted the ideas and together with the current tactic of “reform by stealth” things are moving along swimmingly. Tariana and Pita must be really proud of what they’ve achieved and of their legacy of actively supporting government policies aimed at shafting huge numbers of those they purport to represent. Well done Tariana and Pita!

    • North 4.1

      Perfectly said Mary ! Toryana Torya is nought more than a whispering old scab on her people…….on a BMW.

      • Mary 4.1.1

        The problem is reinforced by there being no coherent and consistent analysis from the Labour, Green and Mana opposition. This is fundamental stuff and it should be easy to convey in clear and simple language why it’s wrong, but have we ever seen Jacinda critiquing Key’s agenda around the provision of core social services in these terms? Labour should’ve been shouting from the rooftops how delivering comprehensive health and welfare in appropriate ways through meaningful dialogue with Maori can achieve everything the Maori Party were asking for, without the Trojan Horse of Whanau Ora. Perhaps why Labour did not do this is because they’d do precisely the same if they were government, but it’s just as likely they just don’t have the analysis. Mana’s policy of “food in schools” for deciles 1 to 3 only runs a real risk of falling into the same trap if not managed properly. Debate about the danger of less government and pushing responsibility for welfare out to the community sector was fundamental back around the time of the benefit cuts and Housing NZ market rents etc but now it’s as if the left regard it as inevitable so have given up fighting. Why can’t parties on the left get a bit smarter on things like this? It really shouldn’t be that difficult.

  5. bad12 5

    November 2014 is odds on to make your ‘fondest dream’ a reality, the Maori Party having just spent a weekend examining the entrails at it’s annual hui have come away just as delusional as beforehand,

    Whanau Ora will die a quiet death as soon as the warrant for Tariana Turia is withdrawn upon Her retirement with National having little stomach for what has essentially been a ‘slush fund’ paying out cash for dubious reasons, (the largest % of which was splurged in Turia’s electorate),

    Most Maori have now been fully awakened to the fact that they got conned by Turia and Sharples over the seabed and foreshore with the Maori Party accepting from National legislation that is arguably no better if not worse than Labour’s previous legislation,

    The Waiariki electorate is going to be one of interest in November 2014, my pick is that Mana’s Annette Sykes will topple Flavell thus consigning the Maori Party to a dusty corner on history’s shelf, the only question for Sykes being will the 3 way split in the vote allow Labour to take that seat back again…

  6. joe90 6

    George ran [cough} several PEP schemes in the eighties so he'll know a thing or two about being a highly paid [cough]coordinator.

  7. Rosetinted 7

    Tariana is strong as someone who remains totally focussed on one goal with no side issues to be considered can be – inflexible and determined. But then having large amounts of money and power contain their own moral hazard, and Maori are just as affected by this as pakeha. Past experience has shown that large amounts of input don’t necessarily result in the amount of output expected or that meets needs. Really most of our policy spending at present shows that result.

    Tariana is right to say that bureaucracy does not help in its programs which are not wanted or satisfy a need. This is true for pakeha (National Standards and the ratshit reasoning for it, Novopay the same – in education.) And also it is observable that education is being turned into a business that can show up in GDP and make the economy look healthier. Citizens will be forced to pay for this essential life training but may have to pay it back out of pitiful low wages for a large part of their lifetime. It is being divorced from the real life need or preparation for gaining a paying job of people.

    This approach can be seen by government causing lack of opportunity to get steady jobs for Maori when PEP schemes would be far better way of spending welfare. Supported training to suit the requirements and the available jobs for Maori in their own preferred method for first-level training in their own regions, with shared courses for more advanced second level so standards are integrated. Discrete amounts for projects that move through all the stages from education to a guaranteed job. Government can act here in a responsible way and stop killing our economy by buying materials and expertise overseas!

    China and Arrow have signed an agreement to co-operate in Christchurch rebuilding, and Arrow say this will provide cost savings. This after small contractors talking on Radionz yesterday morning, expecting to be called on to assist in the rebuild and who invested to make themselves ready, yet finding that work has dried up and they face bankruptcy. Also one said that his costed hourly rate of $65 that covers work and provision of infrastructure, (materials?) is being rejected and undercut.

    Another example of lower earnings for actual workers and fabricators of physical items? Higher earnings for pen pushers, project managers, deal makers, and executives who don’t execute actual work efficiently, mainly executing in-house jobs in favour of impermanent ones implemented by contractors or machines run by computer programs? A new aristocracy operating as our new norm?

    • Rosetinted 7.1

      Another point about Whanau Ora – sorry if I haven’t spelled it right. I believe that there will be some mis-spending, some waste, and some fraud, as well as some good stuff that really is wanted and helps some people and is what they want. Trouble is how much money will get channelled away from useful projects to SUVs or such, and how costly will the successful projects appear when the total cost is divided by the successes?

      There will be a lot that we don’t know because the government is washing its hands of it. That will leave room for idle speculation, real concerned questions, malicious rumour-mongering, vituperative attacks. Maori may lose all the goodwill that the public has for them if they are considered to be just playing corrupt games with the nation. The sort of attitude that Winston Peters calls ‘the grievance industry’ will be confirmed as correct if Maori don’t succeed widely after this.

      Because government is concerned about the appearance of NZ in the eyes of the world, and it should be doing better, it would assist them if they could get rid of the harsh statistics that show us up. They would like to rid themselves of the ‘tail’ of people suffering through a lack of opportunity for everything worthwhile in life, starting from proper care, control and honourable role models from parents when they are children. As they grow up they can’t shake themselves free of the cloud of negativity and lack of respect for themselves or anything much they have picked up from their early years. This ‘tail’ of people are ‘bad’ people making bad statistics to mar government’s standing on the world’s table of measures.

      So government looks for ways to prevent statistics being gathered – what we don’t know can’t hurt them. Then they privatise social welfare, turning it into a business that will show up as GDP. Money going to Whanau Ora will not be the government’s responsibility. If Maori in each area cannot direct the directors to allocate correctly in an inexpensive manner that doesn’t soak up large costs, and control the spending on allocated projects, they will be scorned by the country, and lose support from ordinary pakeha for any further help of any kind. This ‘grant’ could well turn out to be a poisoned chalice for Maori.

  8. tracey 8

    Hasnt whanau ora always been under attack though? Much like working for families? And why would Turia truly champion something that wasn’t benefiting her people? I am suspicious that the detractors are the same folks who think unequal pay is because women aren’t good enough.

  9. joe90 9

    And why would Turia truly champion something that wasn’t benefiting her people?

    In auntie Tari’s world her people doesn’t mean what you think it does.

  10. Mary 10

    Tariana champions it because there’s nothing else she can point to to justify budding up to Key and National. They’ve known their decision to do this has severely damaged their support for a long time now but it’s only recently they’ve acknowledged it publicly. Before Whanau Ora all Tariana and Pita had was Key agreeing to fly the Maori flag from Auckland Harbour Bridge on Waitangi Day – an extremely cheap, efficient and smart move on National’s part – but there’s only so much mileage the Maori Party could get out of that so Whanau Ora was a timely and welcomed addition.

  11. red blooded 11

    I think it’s hard to argue that the current method of providing services has truly delivered for many Maori (or for other people who are trapped in a cycle of relative poverty and limited prospects). Whanau Ora has been hard to criticise (especially for pakeha) because it has arisen from the Maori Party and is presented as a taking back of power, and a return to traditions of whanau-based care. And there are some good elements (the attempt to provide more coordinated support and improve on the model of multiple agencies, each working with their own agenda and not communicating with each other). Having said that, we shouldn’t blindly assume that a scheme administered by Māori is automatically going to benefit underprivileged and disempowered Māori, and it seems that the “community knows best” argument fits a bit too neatly with the “community choice” philosophy that argues we don’t need actual teachers in our classrooms; that well-intentioned people with skills in their own fields can step in and do the job better through Charter Schools – another initiative that is presented as focusing on the needs of those on the bottom of the heap by handing over funding, power and responsibility (but not accountability, with these “schools” exempted from the NZ Curriculum, NCEA, the OIA and any meaning oversight from the Ombudsman’s Office).

    These issues need to be argued out in public, and it would be good to hear a range of Māori perspectives. At this stage, the Māori party presents itself as speaking for all Māori and the only voice I hear arguing back in public is (cringe) Winston Peters.

    • bad12 11.1

      Peters on Morning Report today spelled it out quite clearly, what Maori need isn’t 40 million dollars annually dished out to those who know how to play ‘the game’ via Whanau Ora,

      What is needed is affordable rental housing with a guarantee of tenure, well paid employment in the high unemployment areas, basic bread and butter stuff,

      Winston’s problem tho with this oft repeated mantra is that He and NZFirst have been part of Governments that have failed to deliver on such invective and listening to Him repeat the same old mantra this morning rang rather hollowly considering past administrations failures,

      There are 4 questions all answered in the negative which serve to show that far from ‘gains’ made from it’s, (Maori Party), coalition agreement with National, they Sharples, Turia, and, Flavell have simply accepted the crumbs swept from the top table in return for their support of this administration, Flavell it seems from where i sit has not caused the ‘leadership contest’ over matters of policy nor Party direction, instead giving every impression of whining for the better part of a Parliamentary term for the simple reason that His share of the crumbs so swept from National’s table have been less than His 2 fellow MP’s,

      The questions???, Did the Maori Party secure a ‘better’ legislative outcome for the sea-bed and foreshore from this National Government than the previous Labour Government legislation on this issue, NO,

      In 4 1/2 years of coalition with this National Government have ANY of the negative social and economic indicators shown a more positive result for Maori, NO,

      Has the Maori Party coalition with this National Government caused ANY affordable housing above what is already available to Maori to be built, NO,

      Has any more employment been provided anywhere in the economy for Maori under the auspices of the present coalition agreement between the Maori and National Party’s, NO,

      Anecdotal evidence is that it is young Maori who are the highest % of those who are being removed from being able to access welfare benefits while not being placed in employment,

      That 40 million bucks of Whanau Ora money would have been better spent on employment schemes in the provinces where Maori unemployment is so high….

      • Follow-the-money 11.1.1

        But Peters is about the most effective opposition we have at the moment.

        Roll on regime change in the red zone…

  12. weka 12

    I haven’t had time to read all the comments yet, but I will take issue with the post itself. Whatever criticisms there are to be made about Whanau Ora and/or Turia, posts like this (a) perpetuate myths about how Maori use state funds and (b) completely and utterly fail to acknowledge the need and right for Maori to have a different kind of control over how services are provided to their people because Pakeha services fail them. Disappointing.

    The post also is devoid of any citations, and looks like a rant against Turia that also misleads. I’m not saying there aren’t valid issues to look at, I’m saying this post fails to do so in a meaningful way.

    • Lightly 12.1

      is there any evidence that Whanau Ora has achieved more good than could have been achieved with normal funding? Any actual evidence?

      Is there evidence of widespread abuse of the money? Hell, yes. Not only the public cases, but the anecdotes from the sector are all of people with no experience trying to set up and get a slice of this slush fund with no clear idea what good they’re meant to deliver.

    • bad12 12.2

      Misleads???, hardly!!!, in my opinion my niece’s Auntie deserves every bit of ‘bad press’ that She gets,

      Sharples has earned the same for claiming some sort of ‘victory’ for Maori from having Maori focus units in a few prisons,

      Flavell should be ‘laughed’ out of the Parliament over the contents of His ‘kneecapped’ gambling harm minimization legislation,

      It is time to cease having a ‘romantic’ view of the Maori Party who at best have delivered to Maori a few crumbs swept off of the over-abundant National Government’s table…

      • weka 12.2.1

        Read my comment again. It wasn’t about Turia or the Maori Party.

        • bad12 12.2.1.1

          Turia is ‘Whanau ora’, Whanau Ora is the ‘price She demanded from National for a coalition agreement,

          A year after Turia has left the Parliament ‘Whanau Ora’ will die a quiet death never to be mentioned again,

          i am rather amused by your ‘romantic notion’ that Maori need social services delivered in a markedly different manner than anyone else,

          That ‘romantic notion’ tho does provide a position in the pecking order for a strata of Maori equipped with the necessary skills to deliver such services but as far as ‘difference’ goes it mostly means a brown face delivering such services as opposed to a white face, thus providing employment for Maori that might not have been forthcoming from the previous Euro-centric providers,

          My opinion is that ALL Government expenditure should be able to be examined by Joe Public line by line, item by item, anything else is to simply invite ‘slush funds’ to be established,

          The only Whanau Ora grant that i have so far seen that would have resulted in the provision of ongoing future financial benefit for the Whanau involved was in fact the grant the Dunedin Mongrel Mob used to set up a Marijuana distribution operation,

          Unfortunately this was illegal and the main participants might be eligible to take part in some Maori focusing via the program in their local prison…

          • weka 12.2.1.1.1

            Just so we are clear, are you saying that Maori don’t need services delivered in culturally specific ways?

            And that all of the state funded services aimed at this are failures other than offering employment to Maori provders?

            • bad12 12.2.1.1.1.1

              Yep, there is no ‘culturally specific’ anything when my nieces or nephews visit the Doctor, it’s the same medicine whether delivered from a white or brown face,

              Both my nieces are fluent Te Reo speakers and they don’t feel any specific need to receive their medical instructions in any particular language, although i do concede that the Marae clinic is their ‘choice’ of doctor which has more to do with cost and proximity than who is at the head of the delivery,

              And, just to be clear here, you ARE suggesting that Maori need services delivered in a ‘culturally specific’ way???,

              Please do tell, what services and by what specific cultural ‘ways’ are these services being delivered,

              To my knowledge, these ‘services’ are simply the same services delivered by Maori faces as opposed to Pakeha ones, and i can point out 1 Maori provider who has Pakeha doctors doing the face to face work,

              As far as failures go, well no, it ensures that Maori are employed in areas and at levels that previously few Maori could gain employment or experience,

              At a flax roots level there may be gains in that if the Doc is a bit shit there’s no need to face the daunting task of complaining to the system, you just need tell your cuz to tell his old man that the Docs a bit shit…

              • Culturally specific relates to the health service itself not the delivery imo. The person delivering is irrelevant if the service is the same. The service or lack of is the issue and Whanau Ora was an attempt to address that through a holistic approach based on a Māori worldview, but it was doomed right from the beginning because imo it didn’t have the support, funding and buy in. Some have routed the system, some have taken advantage of it and others have abused it – ho hum they do that for every system introduced. It is difficult to see it continuing in any form once Tariana has gone but personally i don’t dis Tariana for trying, even in a misguided way, to get something changed, after all the statistics speak for themselves about how the current system including Whanau ora (although it is difficult to measure) is still leaving too many Māori disadvantaged and below the standard of health and health care expected in a society like ours.

  13. King Kong 13

    Bloody Maori’s. Always trying to get their hands on our dough.

  14. Rosetinted 14

    This Whanau Ora payment differs from payments made to Maori over recent years in ways that could seriously harm our country more than previous pakeha mendaciousness has.
    So far Maori have been making the case for money and reparation, that it is in lieu of land, lost property, harm and violence and foregone income because they were prevented from using their assets. Now with Whanau Ora it is a sort of sovereignty, and one wonders what next because it isn’t something that the country as a whole is participating in, and it may be that non-Maori are to be totally excluded from every aspect.

    It is so contradictory of the government. Tuhoe could be invaded at the drop of a hat, without respect for their citizenship rights, just walked over and threatened nastily. Then gummint turns round and large amounts of money are to be poured into whose hands? To do what? Can these people be trusted to do what Maori in general want, and are all Maori to be given a chance to really think things through? I see someone suggesting that this policy suits the neo-liberal agenda of the RWNJs and this may be it in a nustshell. I think the beehive should be renamed to that!

    There is always the possibility of an elite of Maori doing well, and the difficult ones who really need the most help and money spent, being left. Perhaps that’s why the social welfare is changing. The Maori leaders will have some real stick to use, and some can be very harsh on other Maori. It could be quite hard for some who the leaders don’t have much sympathy for. Though some need to learn some self-discipline, which isn’t easy to acquire.

    I am just thinking of Israel. It is interesting how a nation can divide when one grouping is given special conditions to the extent that they feel a huge entitlement. Israel has these very fervent old-testament believers I think called Hassadic jews, The ones where the men wear a little hair twist. They are beginning to persecute other secular jews and make increasing demands and violence has ensued. They don’t have to serve in the army but they can be violent and have done so against Palestinians and other settlers. We don’t want a sort of special advantages culture growing up, or strict separatism, but proper respect and good nature and fair treatment from pakeha to Maori and vice versa.

  15. Draco T Bastard 15

    In my fondest dreams, I see the Maori Party failing to win any seats in 2014 and Whanau Ora being disestablished as a matter of urgency by the incoming Labour-Green government once they see the secret papers and learn the full extent of the waste and corruption Turia has fostered.

    One thing that’s certain, Whanau Ora will need a full inquiry by the next government and people going to jail because of it.

    • Murray Olsen 15.1

      I think a full inquiry into MSD would be more urgent. There are more than enough Maori in prison already, and nowhere near enough Tories.

  16. millsy 16

    The Maori Party (and the elite that it represents), have always been opposed to the public provision of social services. Just like the National Party.

    I seem to remember reading about how among the first people to embrace Simon Upton and Bill Birch health reforms in the 1990′s were Maori, looking to cash in on the carve up of the best health system in the world.

    • weka 16.1

      Yeah, because Maori, all of them, are greedy and just want da money. Nothing to do with the Pakeha health system failing them.

      • Draco T Bastard 16.1.1

        He didn’t say that and the best way to address Māori health is by changing and improving the present health service so that it does so and not by breaking it up. Breaking it up just results in all of us getting worse healthcare.

  17. Mariana Pineda 17

    It sounds very much like the unaccountable charter schools which the Maori Party signed up to.

    Lots of funding but no scrutiny and you can do whatever you like with public money because we will never know anyway.

    That sounds corrupt to me.

  18. Kent 18

    Offensive to the core. Is the Maori party merely the Shinn Fein of the Black Power and Mongrel Mob?

    Isn’t this the same Whanau Ora that was discovered by way of the OIA to have used its public funds to buy drugs for gangs?

    Now Tariana is trying to stop that ever happening again by way of removing OIA oversight.

    This is a farce! It defies belief that this can happen in a country that supposedly has an independent judicial oversight.

    Are our politicians all so scared of the R word that no one is going to call these crooks out for what they really are?

    It makes me sick to my stomach.

    • Molly 18.1

      It is racist of you to imply that corruption is due to the fact it is a Maori based organisation.

      To clarify, given the number of corruption and incompetence examples in the news lately, – the SkyCity casino deal, the GCSB machinations, Marryat in Chch etc – do you hear anyone referring to this as pakeha corruption? No. Just corruption and incompetence.

      Why do you need to frame the incompetence in Whanau Ora from a race based perspective?

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