web analytics

Whanau Ora: privatisation by stealth

Written By: - Date published: 9:01 am, December 21st, 2009 - 23 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 proposing 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.

23 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

  • Tokelau Language Week reminds us to stay united and strong
    Staying strong in the face of challenges and being true to our heritage and languages are key to preserving our cultural identity and wellbeing, is the focus of the 2020 Tokelau Language Week. Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio, says this year’s theme, ‘Apoapo tau foe, i nā tāfea ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 hours ago
  • NZ announces a third P-3 deployment in support of UN sanctions
    The Government has deployed a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 Orion (P-3) maritime patrol aircraft to support the implementation of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions imposing sanctions against North Korea, announced Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters and Minister of Defence Ron Mark. “New Zealand has long supported ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Pacific trade and development agreement a reality
    Pacific regional trade and development agreement PACER Plus will enter into force in 60 days now that the required eight countries have ratified it. Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker welcomed the announcement that the Cook Islands is the eighth nation to ratify this landmark agreement. “The agreement represents ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Securing a pipeline of teachers
    The Government is changing its approach to teacher recruitment as COVID-19 travel restrictions continue, by boosting a range of initiatives to get more Kiwis into teaching. “When we came into Government, we were faced with a teacher supply crisis,” Education Minister Chris Hipkins said. “Over the past three years, we ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Border exceptions for a small number of international students with visas
    The Government has established a new category that will allow 250 international PhD and postgraduate students to enter New Zealand and continue their studies, in the latest set of border exceptions. “The health, safety and wellbeing of people in New Zealand remains the Government’s top priority. Tight border restrictions remain ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • First COVID-19 vaccine purchase agreement signed
    The Government has signed an agreement to purchase 1.5 million COVID-19 vaccines – enough for 750,000 people – from Pfizer and BioNTech, subject to the vaccine successfully completing all clinical trials and passing regulatory approvals in New Zealand, say Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods and Health Minister Chris Hipkins. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • International statement – End-to-end encryption and public safety
    We, the undersigned, support strong encryption, which plays a crucial role in protecting personal data, privacy, intellectual property, trade secrets and cyber security.  It also serves a vital purpose in repressive states to protect journalists, human rights defenders and other vulnerable people, as stated in the 2017 resolution of the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Ministry of Defence Biodefence Assessment released
    The Ministry of Defence has today released a Defence Assessment examining Defence’s role across the spectrum of biological hazards and threats facing New Zealand. Biodefence: Preparing for a New Era of Biological Hazards and Threats looks at how the NZDF supports other agencies’ biodefence activities, and considers the context of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New Approaches to Economic Challenges: Confronting Planetary Emergencies: OECD 9 October 2020
    New Approaches to Economic Challenges: Confronting Planetary Emergencies: OECD 9 October 2020 Hon David Parker’s response following Thomas Piketty and Esther Duflo. Good morning, good afternoon, and good evening, wherever in the world you might be. I first acknowledge the excellent thought provoking speeches of Thomas Piketty and Esther ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Kaipara Moana restoration takes next step
    A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed today at Waihāua Marae between the Crown, local iwi and councils to protect, restore and enhance the mauri of Kaipara Moana in Northland. Environment Minister David Parker signed the document on behalf of the Crown along with representatives from Ngā Maunga Whakahī, Ngāti ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New Zealand and Uruguay unite on reducing livestock production emissions
    Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor and Uruguayan Minister of Livestock, Agriculture and Fisheries Carlos María Uriarte have welcomed the launch of a three-year project that will underpin sustainable livestock production in Uruguay, Argentina, and Costa Rica.  The project called ‘Innovation for pasture management’ is led by Uruguay’s National Institute of Agricultural ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • 3100 jobs created through marae upgrades
    Hundreds of marae throughout the country will be upgraded through investments from the Provincial Growth Fund’s refocused post COVID-19 funding to create jobs and put money into the pockets of local tradespeople and businesses, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones and Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta have announced. “A total ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Health volunteers recognised in annual awards
    Health Minister Chris Hipkins has announced 9 teams and 14 individuals are the recipients of this year’s Minister of Health Volunteer Awards.  “The health volunteer awards celebrate and recognise the thousands of dedicated health sector volunteers who give many hours of their time to help other New Zealanders,” Mr Hipkins ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Community COVID-19 Fund supports Pacific recovery
    The Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio says a total of 264 groups and individuals have successfully applied for the Pacific Aotearoa Community COVID-19 Recovery Fund, that will support Pacific communities drive their own COVID-19 recovery strategies, initiatives, and actions. “I am keen to see this Fund support Pacific ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Community benefits from Māori apprenticeships
    Up to 50 Māori apprentices in Wellington will receive paid training to build houses for their local communities, thanks to a $2.75 million investment from the Māori Trades and Training Fund, announced Employment Minister Willie Jackson today. “This funding will enable Ngāti Toa Rangatira Incorporated to provide its Ngā Kaimahi ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Training fund supports Māori jobseekers
    Rapidly growing sectors will benefit from a $990,000 Māori Trades and Training Fund investment which will see Wellington jobseekers supported into work, announced Employment Minister Willie Jackson today. “This funding will enable Sapphire Consultants Ltd. to help up to 45 Māori jobseekers into paid training initiatives over two years through ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Ruakura Inland Port development vital infrastructure for Waikato
    The Government is investing $40 million to develop an inland port at Ruakura which will become a freight super-hub and a future business, research and residential development for the Waikato, Urban Development and Transport Minister Phil Twyford, and Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta announced today. The funding has been has ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Appointments made to Defence Expert Review Group
    Defence Minister Ron Mark announced today the establishment of an Expert Review Group to review a number of aspects of the New Zealand Defence Force’s (NZDF) structure, information management and record-keeping processes.  The Expert Review Group’s work arises out of the first recommendation from the Report of the Government’s Inquiry ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • No active community cases of COVID-19
    There are no active community cases of COVID-19 remaining in the country after the last people from the recent outbreak have recovered from the virus, Health Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “This is a big milestone. New Zealanders have once again through their collective actions squashed the virus. The systems ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Clean energy upgrade for more public buildings
    More public buildings will be supported by the Government to upgrade to run on clean energy, the Minister for Climate Change James Shaw announced today. Minister Shaw announced that Lincoln and Auckland universities will receive support through the Clean-Powered Public Service Fund to replace fossil fuel boilers. Southern, Taranaki, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Schools back donations scheme for the second year
    More schools have opted in to the donations scheme for 2021, compared to 2020 when the scheme was introduced. “The families of more than 447,000 students will be better off next year, with 94% of eligible schools and kura opting into the scheme,” Education Minister Chris Hipkins said. “This is ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Ruapehu cycle trails gets PGF boost
    The spectacular Mountains to Sea cycle trail in Ruapehu District will receive $4.6 million in funding from the Provincial Growth Fund for two additional trails, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced today. “This is an exciting development for the local community, and one that will provide significant economic opportunities ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago