web analytics
The Standard

Whanau Ora: privatisation by stealth

Written By: - Date published: 9:01 am, December 21st, 2009 - 20 comments
Categories: poverty, privatisation, public services - Tags:

The government is beginning to explain more about its Whanau Ora plan, although it is still startlingly vague considering we’re talking a billion dollars of taxpayer dollars a year.

The idea seems to be to get more money that is currently spent by social welfare departments passed on to private community groups, who will supposedly deliver a holistic approach. Why they don’t just build on Labour’s work in getting government agencies to present a single face to families in need, I don’t know. It seems like privatisation for its own sake.

To make it easier for private groups to get public money, Bill English is

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

relaxing reporting requirements for private community organisations that are contracted to deliver services using public money. For some reason, English thinks that removing accountability requirements will increase accountability.

I’m struggling to understand how adding a layer of money-passing before the resources get to the to people in need and removing accountability will lead to better outcomes. Are we just to take it on trust that private groups will spend public money well and in the public interest?

There’s a bloody good reason to use government social welfare departments as the prime deliverers of assistance to families in need. Public money should be spent impartially, on the basis of need. Leaving it to private groups removes public accountability and means that people get help not necessarily on the basis of need but because they are the ‘right kind’ of person, the ‘deserving poor’. Will a Destiny Church-based welfare provider treat everyone equally or will it help those who adopt its religious beliefs? If there isn’t sufficient accountability standards, how will we stop them abusing our money like this?

Let me make clear that I know most community groups do excellent work and are staffed by fine people. But that doesn’t mean we just take it on trust that this is always the case. We need accountability to protect against abuse.

It looks like National and the Maori Party want to write a blank cheque for private groups and leaving it open for those groups to abuse our money and our trust to further their private interests. As far as I can tell, the only reason for this is an ideological assumption by the government that privatisation is best. In reality (like all privatisation) it will be a rogue’s charter, an invitation for unscrupulous people to rip us off.

20 comments on “Whanau Ora: privatisation by stealth”

  1. Bill 1

    From memory, even G. Bush backed off from privatising welfare.

    I very much doubt that ‘community groups’ as you envisage them that will be the providers. This is doubtless a money making scheme that will snaffled by corporate type entities. Or religious entities.

    The bottom line is that nothing will be proposed that ushers in any sense of empowerment at the community level.

  2. Tigger 2

    Private groups come with private agendas. Here we’re seeing money given to groups with an agenda based on ethnicity/race. Prior to the election Key spoke of allowing religious based groups into the mix. This is all well and good but these services shouldn’t come with an agenda. It’s a recipe for inequality of service. For example, will you only be able to access the service if you recognise an iwi? Will Parents Inc require you to abide by a set of religious based terms before you can access their services (and will gay parents even be welcome?).

    I’m all for approaches that recognise diversity – but not like this.

  3. zelda 3

    It will be the new ‘Donna Huata’ type organisations that will proper under this.
    Willy Jackson and David Tamihere and their groups must be rubbing their hands together

    • Tigger 3.1

      John Tamihere will be also, no doubt. :-)

      Yep, expect some right-wing Maori interests to take over welfare. Not good.

  4. Bill 4

    How about a recital of the lords prayer before the cheque is handed over?
    How about a urine test to make sure you ain’t spending that cheque on alcofuel? Compulsory attendance at ‘Right Living’ seminars that will instil the correct attitude about your poverty, anyone?
    How about receipts to prove correct, right and proper purchases?

    Who will write the rules? The providers? What happens to current legislation? How will advocacy groups operate when there are multiple agencies with multiple agendas and rule (policy) books?

    • Who will write the rules? The providers? What happens to current legislation? How will advocacy groups operate when there are multiple agencies with multiple agendas and rule (policy) books?

      They’ll break down of course as the costs of a many to many relationship far exceed their revenue.

  5. prism 5

    “Private groups come with private agendas. Here we’re seeing money given to groups with an agenda based on ethnicity/race. ”

    The trouble is that ethnicity/race can make a difference as to what is needed as far as government involvement in
    spending for all people is concerned. This spending goes beyond welfare but that is a huge part of govt citizen spending.
    When Labour tried to recognise need for policies related to ethnicity and target proposals to deal with such problems they got criticised. One group refused to utilise one scheme which offered a bonus for finding work for Maori.
    Going all reverse pc and not wanting to show preference for ethnicity when dealing with problems indicated by statistics such as unemployment and being forced into universality means that money isn’t applied to where it could most help and is most wanted.
    Maori have recognised this and want funds for the many projects they run for themselves which have been starved for so long.
    However there needs to be oversight, monitoring and accountability. It is too easy to be seduced into spending like the rich, they live in a different reality. Donna and $80 underpants and ties and $1000 suits and beamers twinkle brightly – the baubles of power and guaranteed funding need to be resisted.

    • Tigger 5.1

      So why is English talking of reducing compliance expectations?

      It’s because it’s a rort for private business, rolled up in Maori sheep’s clothing.

  6. tc 6

    More of the same…..this is about making the MP feel they’re getting something so the rollovers will continue without question.

    Nat’s don’t care who dishes what out and on what basis…..it’ll be speak to the hand it’s all an issue for the ‘provider’…….so the likes of Destiny not only suck off their followers but also the taxpayer…..scary indeed.

    • prism 6.1

      Don’t let Destiny turn to density (as in Back to the Future if you remember that bit). There are great things going on in Maoriland that shouldn’t be over-shadowed by sharply dressed, charismatic men and women of confidence. Besides all the talkback chat, there is real work going on with sterling people and money to assist them to continue and expand their programmes will not be wasted.
      Incidentally I am not Maori or PI, know my whakapapa and there isn’t Maori at all in it, but I want NZ to be a better place and perceive Maori to be the ones to show us the way. They will, given the necessaries to achieve that.

  7. randal 7

    we wish you a merry xmas and ahapy new year.
    send me some shares.

  8. Hugh 8

    Just remember that the private groups will not be large corporations like Fonterra or Telecom, but iwi. Iwi have a long history of responsibly helping out maori people in need, and they have done bloody well without any government support – so a little bit of government support would go a long way, since the networks and procedures are already in place.

    To imply that iwi would exclude people in need is not only insulting towards the principles of Maori law and good governance it’s calling into question the very basis of the Treaty of Waitangi, which is based on the premise that iwi will work in good faith towards making New Zealand a better place.

    • BLiP 8.1

      Throwing kahu huruhuru over privatisation does not make privatisation acceptable.

    • Bright Red 8.2

      so, your argument, Hugh, is ‘trust them’.

      Sorry, but when it comes to public money, I want checks and balances, not blind trust.

    • Swampy 8.3

      Ah, some common sense at last in this thread. Exactly what is wrong with iwi agencies doing the work with their own people?

      I think that fundamentally this is a political argument. Iwi leadership is not exactly known for their left wing perspective on how to help their people. They’re known for the most part to be pretty well anti welfare. Waiparareira (Urban iwi authority) is one of the best in the business.

      Because really that is what this policy is about, it is about Maori agencies doing it for their own people, which the Maori Party has a lot of knowledge and experience of, and which is proven to work.

  9. Bomber 9

    The beauty for National in having the relationship with the Maori Party is that it gives the pretense that National are moderate, likewise the beauty of having the Maori Party front foot this privatization of social welfare is that it doesn’t look like the radical free market economic policy as social policy that it actually is.

  10. BLiP 10

    As Basher Bennett et al start contracting out social services, lets bear in mind what happens when private organisations are given the reigns. The IHC case is the direct result of National Ltd® turfing out the mental hospital patients without sufficient community funding to provide for their care. The patients suffer and the staff suffer then, when it all collapses around them, the tax payer suffers.

    How can National Ltd® even be contemplating this sort of nonsense as the results of their previous actions come home to roost?

    • Chess Player 10.1

      “The IHC case is the direct result of National Ltd® turfing out the mental hospital patients without sufficient community funding to provide for their care. The patients suffer …..”

      I don’t disagree with you that certain sectors are under funded (or more accurately, that certain sectors don’t get the funding intended for them – because it doesn’t ‘trickle down’ past the bureaucrats), but I suggest you get up to speed with the language before you start confusing people with a Disability with the Mentally Ill…

      This may help…

      http://www.ihc.org.nz/GetInformation/Resources/Language/tabid/1187/Default.aspx

      • BLiP 10.1.1

        fair nuff – my bad. Although, I understand that, by far, the bulk of the sleep overs were in houses for the intellectually other-abled. But, thanks for the reminder to watch the P’s and Q’s in this area.

  11. The Chairman 11

    It’s New Zealand’s version of the UK’s family intervention programme.

    http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/115736

Links to post

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Steven Joyce takes the scalpel to medical students
    This November access to the Student Loan scheme will be cut off at seven years seriously harming medical students. Studying to become a doctor takes years of hard work, dedication and intense study and it’s a blunt tool and… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes MP
    12 hours ago
  • Tolley must assure safety of vulnerable clients
    Social Development Minister Anne Tolley must guarantee the safety of Relationships Aotearoa’s thousands of Māori clients – some of whom are very vulnerable – following the closure of the nationwide counselling service, Labour’s Māori Development spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta says. Relationships… ...
    15 hours ago
  • ANZ has moral obligation to fully compensate farmers
      The ANZ Bank has a moral obligation to fully compensate farmers after the High Court today declared it breached the Fair Trading Act by misleadingly representing interest rate swap loans, Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. The Commerce… ...
    1 day ago
  • Fairfax can’t use restructure to cut terms and conditions
    The restructure and upheavals at Fairfax should not be used as an opportunity to cut journalists’ terms and conditions, Labour spokesperson for Labour Issues Iain Lees-Galloway says. “Businesses have to adapt to new technologies and consumer demands and there is… ...
    1 day ago
  • McCully excuses unravel in Saudi sheep scandal
    Murray McCully has misled New Zealanders, Parliament and his Cabinet colleagues on the real reasons for paying millions of dollars in the Saudi sheep scandal – it’s time for him to clean, says Labour’s Export Growth and Trade spokesperson David… ...
    2 days ago
  • Nats break health and education spending promises
    National has outstanding promises of almost $1 billion to be spent on health, education and agriculture from the Future Investment Fund but has only $536 million left in the fund, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “John Key and Bill… ...
    2 days ago
  • Manurewa youth leaders acknowledged
    The depth and breadth of leadership of youth throughout Manurewa, which has been recognized at the Youth Week Award ceremony held at Parliament this week, should make the community extremely proud, Manurewa Labour MP Louisa Wall says. “The 'Limitless Youth… ...
    2 days ago
  • Oi Auckland Transport: fare’s fair
    Auckland Transport should go back to the drawing board on its proposal to charge commuters for its park-and-rides, Labour’s Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “When we need to be getting people out of their cars and onto public transport, it’s… ...
    2 days ago
  • Is Nick Smith making it up as he goes along?
      Housing Minister Nick Smith must release the list of Crown land parcels which formed the basis of the Government’s Budget announcement, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “If the public is to have any faith the Government is not just… ...
    2 days ago
  • Norway moves first to dump coal investments
    The Green Party today called on the Government to secure cross-party support to sell its investments in coal mining companies.The Norwegian Parliament's finance committee agreed in a bipartisan motion yesterday to instruct the $1.2 trillion Government Pension Fund to sell… ...
    GreensBy Russel Norman MP
    2 days ago
  • Fonterra payout $13b black hole over 2 years
    Fonterra’s dramatic cut to its forecast farmgate payout over this season and next will lead to a $13 billion black hole over two years, and shows the need for a plan to diversify the economy, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant… ...
    2 days ago
  • Labour calls for select ctte inquiry into Rural Broadband Initiative
    Labour is calling for an immediate inquiry into the flailing $300 million rural broadband initiative, before companies and consumers are forced to pick up the tab for the new $150 million broadband tax, says Labour’s ICT spokesperson Clare Curran. “Rural… ...
    2 days ago
  • Public broadcasting takes big hit under National Government
    Public broadcasting funding has been cut by 25 per cent in real terms since the National Government took office in 2009, leading to the erosion of our once world-class news and current affairs culture, says Labour Broadcasting Spokesperson Clare Curran. … ...
    2 days ago
  • Hospital food plan hits another snag
    The Government has been left with egg on its face with Hawke’s Bay District Health Board today giving a plan to outsource hospital food services the thumbs down, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “Doing away with local kitchens by… ...
    2 days ago
  • Hospital food plan hits another sang
    The Government has been left with egg on its face with Hawke’s Bay District Health Board today giving a plan to outsource hospital food services the thumbs down, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “Doing away with local kitchens by… ...
    2 days ago
  • Wilkinson appointment wrong in principle
    The appointment of former Conservation Minister Hon Kate Wilkinson as an Environment Commissioner is wrong in principle, says Labour’s Shadow Attorney-General David Parker. “The doctrine of separation of powers requires judicial processes to remain separate and independent from the legislature… ...
    2 days ago
  • McCully doesn’t deny bribe in Saudi sheep scandal
    “In Parliament today I asked Murray McCully directly: Why is he the first Minister in history to back a multi-million dollar facilitation arrangement which in other jurisdictions is called a bribe? says Labour’s Export Growth and Trade spokesperson David Parker.… ...
    2 days ago
  • National must back our future doctors
    National must support our future doctors and agree to the calls from the Medical Students’ Association and the Young Nats to lift the arbitrary 7 year cap on student loans for medical and dental students, Labour’s Tertiary Education Spokesperson David… ...
    2 days ago
  • Taxpayer the loser after Government folds
    Steven Joyce today admitted the main exhibition hall at the New Zealand International Convention Centre is 19 per cent smaller than what was described at the time other bidders were edged out of the process, Labour’s Economic Development spokesperson David… ...
    3 days ago
  • Govt’s lack of ambition for women
    Yesterday, the Government put out a media release entitled “Number of women leaders continues to grow”. It was to inform us that the percentage of women on state-appointed boards has increased to 41.7%, up from 41.1% in 2013. Well, woo-hoo… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    3 days ago
  • Auditor-General exposes Key’s scapegoating of Council
    The National Government's blaming of Auckland Council for the city’s housing crisis has been exposed as scapegoating in the Office of the Auditor-General’s latest report, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “The Auditor-General says Auckland Council’s part in fixing the… ...
    3 days ago
  • Reform – not money – needed for meat sector
    The National Government continues to throw good money after bad at the meat industry instead of addressing the fundamental problem of its dysfunctional structure, Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. “The latest Primary Growth Partnership grant to the venison… ...
    3 days ago
  • Government cuts corners on school bus funding
    The safety of children – not cost cutting – should be the main objective behind the Government’s funding of school buses, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “Buried in the detail of this year’s Budget are $19 million of funding… ...
    3 days ago
  • Women the losers under National’s cuts
    National’s poor performance in appointing women to state sector boards is set to get worse with funding cuts to the nomination service provided by the Ministry for Women, Labour’s Woman’s Affairs spokesperson Sue Moroney says. “Minister for Women Louise Upston… ...
    3 days ago
  • Help sought by agencies now asked to help
    The organisation Social Development Minister Anne Tolley has tasked with setting up an emergency hotline for stranded Relationships Aotearoa clients has just lost a bid for a government contract to launch a new national helpline, Labour’s Acting Social Development spokesperson… ...
    3 days ago
  • Wellington got loud again on climate
    On Monday night, in Wellington, I attended the last of the Government’s climate target consultation meetings. It was quite well attended with maybe 150 people, not bad for a second meeting with very little notice and, as far as I… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    3 days ago
  • Final nail in coffin for Solid Energy workers
    Today’s confirmation of job losses at Solid Energy’s Stockton and Spring Creek mines shows the urgent need for new economic opportunities on the West Coast, Labour’s MP for West Coast-Tasman Damien O’Connor says. “Our economy can no longer rely on… ...
    3 days ago
  • Ramadi proves Iraq deployment high risk, low benefit
    The fall of Ramadi and the collapse of the Iraqi Army proves Labour was right to be concerned about the deployment of our troops to Iraq, Labour’s Defence spokesperson Phil Goff says. “The fall of Ramadi brings IS fighters within… ...
    3 days ago
  • English admits new taxes on the cards
    Eight months after pledging “no new taxes” at the election Bill English today admitted he would bring in more sneaky taxes along the lines of the border tax, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Not only did National bring in… ...
    4 days ago
  • What the Dickens is going on at SDHB?
    Problems at the financially-strapped Southern District Health Board appear to stretch to its HR department with information obtained by Labour showing it still records staff leave entitlements using manual book-keeping methods. “The Board’s draft 10-year plan document forecasts a cumulative… ...
    4 days ago
  • Teachers turn backs on new professional body
      The fact that just 56 per cent of nominations for the Education Council came from registered teachers shows the profession has turned its back on Hekia Parata’s new professional body, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “Answers to written… ...
    4 days ago
  • No spade work done on big building plan
      Only a quarter of the 500 hectares of Crown land the Government wants to use for new homes is understood to be suitable for building on, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “This was National’s bold new idea to… ...
    4 days ago
  • National: Seven KiwiSaver cuts in seven years
    National’s campaign of KiwiSaver cuts has reached seven in seven years as it dismantles KiwiSaver block by block, Labour Leader Andrew Little says. “KiwiSaver is critical to establishing a savings culture in New Zealand but National has taken a jenga-style… ...
    4 days ago
  • Tolley’s actions contradict reassurances
    Social Development Minister Anne Tolley has serious questions to answer following the forced closure of Relationships Aotearoa just days after her reassurances she was looking at ways to keep the service operating, Labour’s Acting Social Development spokesperson Annette King says.… ...
    4 days ago
  • SkyCity downsize another broken promise
    The downsized SkyCity Convention Centre does not deliver on the promised iconic world-class centre and shows the true extent of Steven Joyce’s incompetence, Labour Leader Andrew Little said today. “New Zealanders were promised an iconic world-class convention centre that would… ...
    4 days ago
  • Te Arawa partnership model a step closer
    Councils around New Zealand have an opportunity to improve their consultation with Iwi Māori by following Rotorua District Council’s Te Arawa Partnership Model, Labour’s Māori Development spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta says. “The Rotorua District Council will today decide whether to adopt… ...
    4 days ago
  • Labour mourns Dame Dorothy Fraser
    Labour Leader Andrew Little said the party is today mourning the loss of the youngest person to join the Labour Party, Dame Dorothy Fraser, who went on to be a stalwart of the Dunedin community and tireless worker for others.… ...
    5 days ago
  • The ultimate scapegoat: PM blames fruit fly for new tax
    The Prime Minister has found the ultimate scapegoat for breaking his promise not to introduce a new tax – the Queensland fruit fly, Labour’s Biosecurity spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. “John Key’s first policy upon taking office and assigning himself the… ...
    5 days ago
  • How many victims missing out on protection?
    Hundreds of domestic abuse victims could be missing out on getting protection orders because they are unable to get legal aid, Labour’s Justice spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says.“In the last two years some 351 people who applied for legal aid for… ...
    6 days ago
  • Government kicks hardworking whanau
    A major incentive to help young Kiwis and people on low incomes to start saving has been kicked out from under them with the National-led Government ramming through short-sighted legislation under Urgency today, Labour’s Maori Development Spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta says.… ...
    6 days ago
  • Speculator tax political stunt gone wrong
    Bill English’s admission he doesn’t know whether National’s new speculator tax will have any effect shows last weekend’s announcement by the Prime Minister was a desperate political stunt, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “This Government is so desperate to… ...
    7 days ago
  • The value of parenting
    This week, as part of the Budget, the government introduced a bill to address child poverty. This bill will require parents receiving income support to look for part-time work once their youngest child is three years of age rather than… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    7 days ago
  • Another new tax, another broken promise
    National has unveiled yet another new tax in this budget – a rural broadband levy that will almost certainly result in an immediate price hike for internet and telephone connections across New Zealand, Labour’s ICT spokesperson Clare Curran said “The… ...
    1 week ago
  • Anniversary of Sri Lankan Tamil Massacre
    This is not going to be a happy story but if the Green Party of Aotearoa doesn’t want to know who else will? May 18th marks the anniversary of what is known as the ‘Mullivaikal massacre’ of Tamils in 2009 at… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    1 week ago
  • Labour MPs join youth to take part in 40 hour famine
    A team of Labour MPs took part in the 2015 World Vision 40 hour famine and we were told by World Vision and the young people, that it was the first time MPs had joined them and how appreciative they… ...
    1 week ago
  • Rodeo: ‘Family entertainment’ or animal abuse?
    Recently  TVNZ ran a story with confronting footage showing rodeo animals being punched, repeatedly shocked with electronic prods and having their tails violently twisted over their backs. It was clear that significant force was being used behind the scenes to make… ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers MP
    1 week ago
  • Budget puts the squeeze on police
    The Government has cut funding to the New Zealand police force in the latest Budget, says Labour’s Police spokesperson Kelvin Davis. “The reduction is a whopping $15.3 million that could put front line officers at risk. ...
    1 week ago
  • Crucial social services take another hit
    The Government looks set to slash half a million dollars of funding for critical social services, including Women’s Refuge and Barnados, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni “Taking $500,000 from organisations aimed at improving the lives of vulnerable families… ...
    1 week ago
  • Saying it Loud on Climate in Christchurch
    The Government’s Christchurch consultation meeting on New Zealand’s emission targets was inspiring – not for what was in the Ministry for the Environment’s (MFE’s) defeatist video about the obstacles to changing to a low carbon future, but for what the… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    1 week ago
  • Budget silent on small business
    The Government has completely ignored one of the most important sectors of the economy – small and medium-sized enterprises – in Budget 2015, Labour’s Small Business spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says. "A stunning 41 per cent of jobs were created by… ...
    1 week ago

Public service advertisements by The Standard

Current CO2 level in the atmosphere