Topic: Politics

Change could be on the cards for Whānau Ora

By Talisa Kupenga

Whānau Ora Minister Peeni Henare says changes could be on the cards for Whānau Ora following a review undertaken by the government. Dame Tariana Turia hopes the Minister continues to fund the programme given it has helped more than 45,000 families.

Peeni Henare says a review on Whānau Ora has unlocked the potential for change.

"The collaborative working relationships between Māori service providers in communities and government agencies, the report made recommendations for how to strengthen those relationships."

Because Whānau Ora is under review it received no funding in this year's budget, despite Labour promising $20-mil before the 2017 election.

NZ First Leader Winston Peters has described the programme as a "brorocracy" and with the coalition comes no guarantees from the Prime Minister that Whānau Ora will get the promised funds.

Henare says, "What [NZ First] wants is a robust programme. Come next year's budget, me and my fellow ministers need to demonstrate this to secure those funds."

Whānau Ora founder Tariana Turia says Henare's family would expect him to progress the programme.

"I would hope he might look at his koro, his father, his grandfather and know that there was a pathway forward that has been plotted for him. All he has to do is turn, acknowledge it and get on with the job of doing it,” she says.

Henare says, "Not only is Whānau Ora dear to my family, it is dear to my heart and I hope in the coming weeks and months everyone can see what we have in store for the programme."

The full report is expected to be released November 5.