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Turia warns Maori providers to expect attacks

Turia warns Maori service providers to expect attacks

Associate Maori Affairs Minister Tariana Turia today issued a warning to Maori service providers to brace themselves for an ‘open season’ of public criticism.

“I want Maori and tangata whenua providers to know that I absolutely support what they are trying to do to promote our peoples’ development.

“I also want them to be prepared for an onslaught of public attacks, and relentless nitpicking criticism of everything they do. There is a growing mood of indignant anger against any Maori initiative at the moment.

“Maori service providers will always be vulnerable to mud-slinging. That is because the goals of whanau development are not widely understood, and their work is judged against inappropriate criteria.

“Maori providers service whanau and communities, but most funding contracts specify provision of services to individuals. While providers meet those contract criteria as a minimum standard, the developmental approach they take may be attacked, and any additional services they provide to strengthen whanau may be characterised as mis-spending.

“Even where problems have been identified and action has been taken long ago, our people will not be immune to public attacks.

“Those who judge whanau development against narrow and inadequate criteria, especially self-appointed guardians of mainstream values in the media, do not seem to care how much they hurt people who put their heart and soul into uplifting our people.

“The story they tell, of our people ripping off the system, is very rarely the full picture. Genuine fraud occurs very rarely. Most of our service providers do a damned good job, and I’m proud to support them,” said Mrs Turia.

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