Whanau Ora is a terrible idea. It is the beginning of the privatisation of social services, wrapped in a cloak of Maori-centred solutions for Maori.
The Maori Party and the National Party can’t agree over (among many things) whether Whanau Ora will be open to all or just for Maori but the reality is that it shouldn’t go ahead at all.
It’s not often I would quote Michael Lhaws but he’s got it right this time: “Whanau Ora is just craziness. Devolution to inadequate and incompetent ethnic organisations has not worked before it will not work tomorrow either.”
No-one seems to know quite what the private organisations will be doing in Whanau Ora, apart from clipping the ticket.
This looks like a recipe for a layer of amatuerish, inconsistent private bureaucracy between social services departments and the people who need their assistance. No one seems to have any evidence that this will lead to better outcomes for Maori families in need.
What we do know is it will end up lining the pockets of the Maori Party’s mates in the Maori elite. No wonder John Key is so keen to extend the model to all New Zealanders.