Te Pou Matakana (TPM) chair Merepeka Raukawa-Tait has responded to the report of the Office of the Auditor General on Whānau Ora.
She says the report "confirms what we’ve always known, Māori are best placed to support whānau, not Crown agencies"
This week Te Puni Kōkiri (TPK) came under close scrutiny following the release of the report which critcises TPK's management of Whānau Ora and the distribution of its funding.
The report acknowledges Whānau Ora as innovative, providing new thinking in social service delivery, however, like all new initiatives, it's had teething problems, which are being attributed to TPK.
According to the Auditor-General report, Whānau Ora is surrounded by confusion and its aims are unclear.
Māori Development Minister, Te Ururoa Flavell says, “It's a new approach and a Māori one at that, therefore confusion can be expected.”
Spending by TPK has also been scrutinised. Whānau Ora had a budget of $137.6 million. $20.8 million went to its WIIE fund, $67.9 million on Service Delivery Capability, $6.6 million on Commissioning Agencies, and $42.3 million on Administration.
At the end of March this year, nearly 1,600 whānau received support from TPM, in comparison to the 2,600 whānau who were supported by Te Puni Kōkiri's WIIE fund over three years.
The system in which the Whānau Direct pilot was evaluated shows how TPM's approach has had a positive and immediate effect on whānau.
Raukawa-Tait states "The flow on and ripple effect of a small intervention is huge for whānau. It empowers whānau, enables self-autonomy and independence. The positive change is reflected in positive whānau feedback.” – Whānau Direct provider “This has given me the kick start I needed to get my business up and running. I want to be more independent and share my skills with others.” – 25 year old solo mother of 4 children wanting to set up a small business “The impact has been huge and has made an immense difference in my life.” – 76 year old kaumātua with chronic respiratory illness and diabetes TPM has also constructed a tool (Social Calculator) that demonstrates the benefit of its approach versus the cost of government intervention."
She concludes by saying, "We have systems in place to ensure that every programme and every dollar spent supports the aspirations of our whānau. We support whānau to be independent, not dependent on help”.