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What is Whanau Ora? 2

Written By: - Date published: 7:49 pm, February 15th, 2010 - 41 comments
Categories: welfare - Tags: , , ,

National and the Maori Party are having yet another round of crisis. Once again the Maori Party is threatening to collapse the coalition over a policy. This time it’s Key’s insistence that non-Maori be included in Tariana Turia’s bizarre Whanau Ora plan. Once again, we can look forward to the Maori Party capitulating in a couple of days. Every time their principles are on the line, they choose the Crown limo and the salary ahead of them. It won’t be any different this time.

But that’s the politics. I’m more concerned about what the government is planning to do with a billion dollars of our money.

At John Key’s press conference today, Duncan Garner asked the PM for his best explanation of what Whanau Ora is isn’t it incredible that the government is about to pour a billion dollars into this and we’re at the point of ‘what is this?’ not ‘what evidence do you have this will be better’? This was Key’s response:

‘Whanau Ora is a way of saying we’re going to measure outcomes, instead of just inputs into a family. If that means consolidating funding the current payments that go into a family to give greater flexibility to a third party private provider and to get better results for New Zealanders, then I think they should support it’

Which I take to be a long way of saying ‘I don’t know what Whanau Ora is’.

I mean, come on. It’s about measuring outputs? What has that got to do with private providers? What are these private providers providing? What better outcomes will be achieved? What will change as a result of ‘measuring outcomes instead of outputs’ will people’s eligibility for social services potentially be increased or cut off on the say-so of a private organisation?

Underneath the confusion, I think we can see one clear theme emerging: private providers. Somehow, Whanau Ora is about having government departments pay private organisations to deliver the public services to families that the private organisations determine the families need. It’s a dangerous path that Australia has already gone down. It means that more of the money has to be used on bureaucracy, liaison, and monitoring – not to mention profits. Inevitably, that money will come out of the front-line services that get delivered to families in need.

41 comments on “What is Whanau Ora? 2 ”

  1. Anthony Karinski 1

    To think that we could have a 20 lane cycleway for the same price 🙂

  2. Red Rosa 2

    Great post. The whole things has turned into a shambles. TV1 gave it a good run this evening.

    The Nats never liked the idea anyway. Key’s remark on TV tonight about ‘race-based’ policies (!). Deja vu all over again, Dr Brash. Dish out cash direct to the whanau? One false move and the MSM will make a meal of it. So less cash, and more bureaucratic oversight? Sounds like.

    If Maori were serious about delivering their own social services, they could place some of the treaty settlement cash in trust funds and run these themselves.

    Score another set to the Nats. Match point coming up on the F&S. Chances are that will be 6-0 too.

    • prism 2.1

      Red Rosa – What a backward comment you make about Maori funding their own social needs out of Treaty money. I thought someone that was interested enough in politics to blog here would have more intelligence mixed with pragmatism and integrity than to come out with sloppy right wing ideas like that. Maori treaty money is to replace some of the assets whipped out from under them so long ago. Social welfare is what they are entitled to as citizens of New Zealand.

      • Red Rosa 2.1.1

        To tell the truth, I had no idea of the scale of the program until I browsed through some later comments, and found it was something like $1bn! I pictured $10-$20m, maybe for facilitation etc, around existing programs, and getting the tribal machinery involved in that looked sensible enough.

        But we’ve seen the woolliest justification for spending $1bn ever. Dumping $1bn into a program which the responsible minister can’t explain is something new.

        • prism 2.1.1.1

          Sounds a lot all right – but politicians tend to state the whole amount allocated rather than what would be payable per year which puts it in better perspective. Do we know whether this is a 10 year program?

          There is such a moral hazard to have slush funds and to overlook sloppy programs and inappropriate allocations – overseas hip hop trips etc. There could be legitimate overseas travel, talking to aborigines in Australia, Indian nations in Canada, but what disinterested body will be auditing all this?

  3. bobo 3

    Key seems to be stringing the Maori party along for as long as they will hold together as a party with no intention of honouring any of the agreements, I mean we are nearly half way through the 3 year term and what have they got? Will the Maori Party split down the middle or walk away as one party, any predictions ?

    • pollywog 3.1

      Depends on whether Key still has the numbers to govern if the Maori Party walk…does he ?

      • kaplan 3.1.1

        It’s not so much the numbers and whether he can continue to govern in this term.
        Failing to hold together a coalition will hurt the Nat’s; specifically Key who trumpets himself as a negotiator.

  4. Which I take to be a long way of saying “I don’t know what Whanau Ora is’.

    To be fair, no-one else knows what it is either, so it’s not like he’s a special case…

    • Draco T Bastard 4.1

      Except that he’s supposed to know what it is and what the benefits are.

      • IrishBill 4.1.1

        No-one else is spending $1bn on it.

        • Armchair Critic 4.1.1.1

          We are collectively spending a billion dollars on it.
          Surely it is not too much to ask for the PM to be able to describe what it is. In terms that mean something. Or at least in terms that make him look like he understands. Rather than bureaucratic double-speak.
          I can see him giving a similar answer if he was asked what the benefits of yogic flying are.

  5. logie97 5

    Have we been given any indication as to which organisations the private providers are going to be. I know that Rodney Hide, when in opposition, sought to discredit such bodies as the Waipareira Trust. http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA0504/S00036.htm. Will he and his ilk go on the offensive when they find their own electoral prospects further eroding and will we again witness another round of Maori initiative bashing.

    • Zaphod Beeblebrox 5.1

      Good point- seem to recall a fair bit said about John Tamahere’s koha when he left Waiparera Trust to become an MP. Now he’s a shining example of capitlistic endeavour.

      Seriously though John has done a great job at Waipareira- using the trust money to help lots of groups and people in West Auckland. he’s got big plans to develop a health, education, social service providing centre in the John Henry Centre in Henderson. He hasn’t specified that it has to be for Maori either- will that disqualify him from Whanau Ora money though??

  6. ak 6

    If it’s a re-jig/consolidation of current primary health services with bells on under combined current NGOs (which I suspect), then it’ll be fine, and possibly a huge success – albeit with initial massive teething/funding/secondary interface problems and complications. And it will be open to all, as now.

    But if Mission Australia already has a toe in the door (also suspected) and welfare is in the mix, get some popcorn and a comfortable seat.

    • Tigger 6.1

      “Greater flexibility”? The ordinary voter already thinks social agencies have far too much flexibility in how they dish out their hard earned tax dollars. But roll it on, I say. If it works then more power to them. If it doesn’t then line me up to bash the Key/Turia pinata come election time…

  7. Westminster 7

    I have serious misgivings about the policy capability of agencies involved in Whanau Ora. I’ve been trying to work out what it is and have failed to come up with something concrete. It seems a lot of policy agency have delegated Maori policy to dedicated policy shops which, frankly, struggle to attract and retain talent. It seems in many of these Maori policy shops being one of the brightest Maori is sufficient qualification. But select the brightest of any section of society and you’re necessarily constrained. So, we have a bunch of pedestrian thinkers involved in policy formulation trying to inculcate traditional values into a modern policy setting. What’s worse is that the wiser heads that usually prevail in the policy setting space seem frightened to call bullshit because of cultural cringe/fear they have adequate understanding. It’s a classic Emperor has no clothes scenario. When I asked plainly what the hell whanau ora was when I first encountered it, I called bullshit and was told that I sounded culturally insensitive. I don’t think I am. More than that, I think staying silent on some matters because they are Maori is patronising and demeaning to Maori. It’s almost as if you cannot have a serious and challenging policy discussion with Maori because it will be seen as culturally dominating. Well, that’s crap, as far as I am concerned. There might be a kernal of a good idea embedded in whanau ora – but it won’t be allowed to be developed, enhanced and fermented to goodness because of cringing cultural nonsense. As currently designed, I see this being an expensive disaster that takes good money away from effective interventions and squanders it on a pedestrian idea formulated by pedestrian policy analysts and let go by inadequate governance.

  8. Zak Creedo 8

    To me it looks like meaning we look after our own. In case you aint familiar with this meaning the LDS are big on it stateside.. and as buddy of mine said on a visit there’s a lot of LDS in this country. Oh yessir!

    Now looking after your own is great selling point to the PM and his people because they could say its one way of eliminating that kind of problem. OTOH the MP framers could make for John doing a George and faith-based dealings etc.

    Tho of course you’d have to square away which faith. One that springs to mind is LDS.. oh no, how I hate tautology (yep I already mentioned that).. still, billionaire’s don’t come cheap anymore.. and heh, in case you’re forgetting I’m a fan of the great political capitalist.. and wouldn’t have him skewered in any way, shape or form. Now would I?

    [lprent: I read that once, twice, three times… It still makes no sense to me. ]

    • Zak Creedo 8.1

      really lprent..?

      Well, I guess in the circumstances putting my comment up amounts to a marvel. Then again, your response would have been unobservable..heh.

      No matter, I recognise a call for assist. So a start at the beginning.. LDS(caps please note) Latter Day Saints — I think it’s mebbe second or third entry you come to on a goog search.

      Faith-based pertains to dealings implemented at President G. W. Bush(recall, do, his high ‘religious’ profiling to his widespread ‘religious’ political base) behest. Annual budget in the order $1.2bn. Folks I know termed this the unitary power payoff. [ Bush/Cheney singularly among their presidential tradition staking ground out for rule by executive order with abiding support from the electorate flock as it were ]

      If you were to consider relevant implications here allow me suggest some scrutiny (which admittedly I’d assumed you’d done) in respect of underlying influentials of a social sort in the non-parliamentary MP

      billionaire… former state Governor and backer (believed bucks and block votes) of the newest Republican Senator.. and one time presidential-nominee seeker till he realised a run against Obama was a waste of time and money and pulled out. Big on reputation — heh who’d want to be the billionaire that lost a big race..? Big, too, for block LDS voters. How else could a billio compete with so many others! [ long-winded, sure, but for the life of me the guy’s name escapes ]

      great political capitalist.. ref my first comment here for those with a memory for such things. Relating John the son of Jen, as the kiwi political story is told. Jen, I understand, being a former PM who, before political ‘retirement’ clearly stated how getting elected is the high point in political capital terms and.. over time.. what with spending it on unpopular moves or telling lies or positively anti-social behavior.. loses the plot and lot. Takes a brave woman to say this kind of thing, plotting as it does her own progress. Brave enough for Dame. You bet!

      ( All for now..)

      [lprent: Better.. I have several other meanings for LDS from my work lives. So take pity on us poor near deities (BOFH) who don’t have time to google whatever everyone says… ]

  9. BLiP 9

    Whanua Ora = privatision of social services.

  10. Remember the flip side of the coin here, if Labour was doing this, the right would be marching in the streets.

    Has noone stopped to think what a billion (or even half a billion) could do to existing services? you know, support low decide schools better, properly fund CYF’s, PHO’s, WINZ, employ some people to coordinate.

    Does it really need to be flicked off to the far less accountable private sector?

  11. Ron 11

    The government alrady pays private organisations (or at least non-profit organisations) to deliver services it should be delivering itelf. The difference is that currently the government never pays these organisations a fair return for their services and makes them jump through so many hoops a huge portion of the funding goes on administration.

  12. The Chairman 12

    It’s a semi-privatised model of family intervention.

    Gordon Brown plans to introduce a model that will see 50,000 families sent to behaviour correction centres.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/labour/6207208/50000-chaotic-families-to-be-sent-to-behaviour-training-centres.html

  13. prism 13

    Whether Whanau Ora and giving lots of money to Maori for programs that they run will lead to waste or dissipation of dough, Maori do need such programs and their desire to do something in their own way should not be stymied. To hear Key withdrawing from putting Maori first and making this great push forward to support them, following on from Helen’s great retreat from embracing Closing the Gaps and persisting with it in the face of ill-informed, self-centred criticism hits me at the heart. Maori in general may get so bitter after the lily-livered behaviour of the two main political parties that they will choose other paths that we may not like at all. Methods that will not be like other protests.

    • pollywog 13.1

      No doubt prism that Maori need it but my point is not at the expense of polynesians in general. It pains me to see Maori forge ahead with their own initiatives and not include their elder cousins, especially when linguistically, traditionally, culturally and statistically we are pretty much one and the same.

      The big difference being, my polynesian forbears arrived as part of the third great migration back in the 50’s and 60’s to experience the same culture shock of urbanisation, discrimination and institutionalised racism Maori did, the effects of which led directly to the welfare dependency, shit crime, education and health stats of today.

      if Key has a plan to widen the scope of ‘whanau ora’ and fund it from the general taxpayer to include polynesians, i don’t have a problem with it, provided it meets the needs it was set up for and not just be a one stop funding shop with all the bureaucracy and bullshit that entails. Otherwise expect a polynesian model to be put forward with a raft of duplicated services.

      If Maori still want it to be a maori only thing then they should tax the cashed up iwi’s and form an independent united maori social service and look after their own from tribal resources. Seems to me that the maori party are at odds with individual maori nations/iwi as far as who is representing who and to what ends ?

      oh and imagine what would happen if polynesians in general took to the streets. Remember Tonga a few years ago ?

      • prism 13.1.1

        You make good points pollywog whether you are using the informal or formal style in your comments. But although polynesians (do you dislike the PI abbreviation?) have a good case on the basis of being low on the decile scale, like Maori, it can’t be overlooked that Maori and the Crown signed the ToW.

        Maori have gone in with National because they are desperate to get further with social services such as education, better health practices. They haven’t the energy to take polynesians with them, it’s hard enough just advocating for themselves. Labour disappointed with F&S and the Closing the Gaps and didn’t try hard enough to turn around the ignorant pakeha backlash. (I’m pakeha by the way).

        It seems that what would be fairer is for Whanau Ora in an agreed form to get going for a year or so, and in the meantime polynesian groups would make a plan for their own programs culturally based but with similar aims and expected outcomes which would start after 12 or 18 months.
        Don’t know if you’re still looking at the blog. You may not see this. I had to go out so have only just caught up. captcha training!

        • pollywog 13.1.1.1

          On the one hand we can talk about Maori in general, as we can about Polynesians (inclusive of Maori), but when you break it down, each Polynesian island is an independent nation, as it is with each Maori iwi, in much the same way as Irish, English, Scottish and Welsh are collectively British, which apart from a bit of window dressing, are grouped as one culture/people, more so here in NZ. Collectively, so it is with individual iwi and other polynesians resident in NZ.

          The Maori party is something separate from the individual Maori nations/iwi that make up Maori as a people. So if the Maori party are going to push shit through at national government level on a cultural basis to include independent nations/iwi then they should widen the net to include Polynesians resident in NZ because we effectively are the same culture sharing the same problems.

          FWIW i dont like how Key has jacked Maori party policy to suit his own parties agenda and extend the ‘whanau ora’ concept to all and sundry because i’m betting a lot of it is culturally specific and of no relevence to non polynesians. What it gives him though is the chance to privatise social services and forcefully award contracts to privateers to act as his hench squad in busting beneficiaries and reporting back to him and that Bennett woman rather than Maori, while absolving himself of the responsibility if it all turns to shit by hanging the Maori party out to dry, and if it works for the better then he claims the credit while being seen as the great uniter of cultures.

          By the way, i’m not a fan of using PI as a term. I do like Pasifikans though.

  14. PK 14

    “I think we can see one clear theme emerging: private providers.”

    Yes, it is a kind of Frankenstein combination of privatisation ideology and ethnic separatism. Bad idea.

    “if Key has a plan to widen the scope of ‘whanau ora’ and fund it from the general taxpayer to include polynesians, i don’t have a problem with it”

    Do Indians or Asians seek this kind of separate treatment?

  15. “Do Indians or Asians seek this kind of separate treatment?”

    I dont know, but i know indians or asians don’t have a ministry for their affairs ? What can i say ?… we have a special relationship with NZ due to it being first settled by polynesians.

    http://www.mpia.govt.nz/about-the-ministry/strategic-direction

  16. PK 16

    “What can i say ? we have a special relationship with NZ due to it being first settled by polynesians.”

    That’s an interesting view, but couldn’t I say I’ve got a special relationship with Germany because it was settled by caucasians? As you can probably tell, I’m not a fan of this idea of having separate development systems. It just seems divisive.

  17. “but couldn’t I say I’ve got a special relationship with Germany because it was settled by caucasians? ”

    Say whatever you like but you’re not in Germany. You’re in Polynesia on Polynesian land regardless of whether it’s called New Zealand and as divisive as it sounds, we as New Zealanders are not one people.

    The thing is, if the British isles can have separate parliaments and localised development systems which work, then why not here ?…I say it can but only after all treaty claims have been settled.

  18. PK 18

    “You’re in Polynesia on Polynesian land regardless of whether it’s called New Zealand and as divisive as it sounds, we as New Zealanders are not one people.”

    I’m in New Zealand and Maori are the tangata whenua. The treaty is between Maori and Pakeha.

    “The thing is, if the British isles can have separate parliaments and localised development systems which work, then why not here ? I say it can but only after all treaty claims have been settled.”

    Well, you have distinct countries in that case which makes it easier. You don’t have that kind of geographic separation here. It seems like a kind of South African race based system. I don’t think many people would want to go down that track. Also, people would be reluctant to pay taxes if they’re going to a separate parliament?

  19. The treaty is between independent Maori nations/iwi and the crown. The fact that the crown are pakeha is irrelevent.

    So what is it you don’t get about each iwi, within its tribal boundaries, is effectively its own distinct sovereign nation and geographically separate ? The treaty ensures they be treated as such and no change to that fact can happen until all claims are settled or independent iwi see fit to unite under one banner as some did with the Confederation of United Tribes.

    You can no more talk about Maori as one people being represented by one party as you can about europeans being one people represented by a single party. Naturally, any Maori parliament would be taxed from independent iwi resources and held in Maori bank/federal reserve which is also what will probably happen.

  20. prism 20

    Maori and the pakeha Crown can come to any decision they wish on how they deal with land and customs that they agree on. Its not for you as a polynesian from another island group to say how this should be done. Maori will hui and make their own decisions. If a significant number of Maori want to form their own Maori Party, but not every Maori agrees with it, that is just human affairs at work. There are many ideas and approaches within the Maori community. It doesn’t mean the Maori Party lacks mana.

    You are putting forward legalistic and rigid approaches to Treaty settlements. Maori are tangata whenua and are made of distinct tribes connected with geographical locations, yes. But they have never lived in complete isolation to each other, they have been aware of what is happening in other rohe long before any Europeans came to NZ. Their ideas are not limited to their own location and they meet and discuss what is appropriate for them and their culture. They can decide how to go forward into the 21st century holding on to the strengths of their cultural roots, and incorporating new ideas that are of value including that of belonging to one country, which might include tribal areas that are self-governing. That would be interesting but some countries have them.

  21. I hear ya prism and i’m not saying the Maori party don’t have mana. I’m saying they don’t have the mandate from all Maori or all iwi to act on behalf of all Maori. They have a mandate from their electorates and while it’s admirable that Turia and Sharples have the wider interest of Maori at heart, they should, in my sometimes not so humble opinion, look out for those that got them elected first and stick to what they said they were going to do without the flip flops, at the risk of losing mana.

    From my perspective, irrespective of being polynesian, legalistic and rigid approaches to treaty settlements is the only way forward. Anything less is subject to misinterpretation and we all know how that can turn out. It goes without saying that many iwi have formed alliances and co operate with knowledge of each others practises but still they act independently and autonomously of each other and the Maori Party.

    So in going forward, nothing less than a pan tribal parliament type structure and all that entails will suffice for deciding larger issues such as social services and not the Maori party under the agency of a crown government. After all governance /sovereignty over Maori rests solely on rangatira within their own rohe as does provision of services guaranteeing the welfare of each hapu.

    Urban Maori ?…that ‘s a whole nother basket of kai moana. And as for culture in respect of the hosting of polynesian guests. Where’s the love ?.. cos you know when the brown stuff hits the whirly go round thing, we’re gonna have their backs.

  22. PK 22

    “cos you know when the brown stuff hits the whirly go round thing, we’re gonna have their backs.”

    What exactly does this mean? Are you alluding to some kind of civil war type scenario? I think most whites assume that everyone has abandoned this kind of racial thinking, but they’re obviously incorrect.

  23. prism 23

    Well pollywog it seems to me that you are wanting to share in this Whanau Ora on the basis of being all PIs together, and not have Maori go first as proposed by the Maori Party. So they are not having a straight path to their goals, that’s politics. It is a bit of a heartbreak as Jeanette Fitzsimon revealed in her farewell speeches. They are just one of the ways that Maori are keeping and building political leverage.

    Have you in mind something similar in social services such as Waipareira Trust have talked about, which serves the wider community as well as their own urban hapu. That could be very useful and effective and bring Maori and PI into a harmonious relationship. Are you already talking, working with them? Are they positive to PI involvement?

    Talking down the Waitangi agreements and initiatives is not helpful to you, Maori or the country you think should do more for PIs. There have been honest attempts to move forward through the negotiations. These have happened by taking a flexible interpretation of the clauses not a strict legalistic one though some pakeha have tried that line. It has been decided that the Treaty is a living document and open to different interpretation as time goes on. This allows for parley and for give and take, and requires understanding of Maori culture and sentiment. Pakeha have had to learn and change. Don’t let your ambitions and wishes prompt you to attempt to sour or stymie what are already complicated discussions and decisions.

  24. “Well pollywog it seems to me that you are wanting to share in this Whanau Ora on the basis of being all PIs together, and not have Maori go first as proposed by the Maori Party”

    Yup, as equal partners and for our part, overseen by the ministry for PI affairs.

    I don’t know what Waipareira are up to and i ‘m not that deep into the whole health and social service thing. I’ve got cousins who are so might ask them.

    As for the treaty, I dont have ambitions and wishes to stymie anything and am in no way involved with any of it. I’m just riffing of the cuff and putting shit out there to show that if Maori wanted to take a hardline on ceding from NZ, it is within their treaty rights to do so, especially considering this…

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Independence_of_New_Zealand

    …and the probability of NZ becoming a republic

  25. prism 25

    captcha clearer!
    Why should Maori give you PI equal rights to the development money they are getting? You have a cheek trying to push your way ahead. Maori would probably be fair-minded and want PIs to have opportunities to access it but they are concentrating on their needs first and foremost.

    You say you are not “into the whole health and social service thing”. So it ‘s development money to start businesses and provide jobs that you are interested in? You’re a bit obscure but it seems that you want to elbow Maori aside and get some of the kai at the table for yourself. Wait your turn!

    You talk about Maori considering ceding from NZ, in a not serious manner. That would be a major step and when such changes are made there are always unconsidered difficulties.

    I’ve nothing more to say about this.

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