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“What about Whanau Ora Mr Anderton?"

“What about Whanau Ora, Associate Health Minister Anderton?”

Hon Tariana Turia, Maori Party Health spokesperson
6 August 2008

The Associate Minister of Health seems unable to understand the value of collective approaches to health, which is the fundamental underlying principle of his government’s Maori health policy, according to the Maori Party.

“I questioned Mr Anderton in Parliament today about the lack of kaupapa whanau programmes for drug and alcohol abuse, and what he is going to do about it,” said Health spokesperson Tariana Turia.

“In reply Mr Anderton talked about funding levels and numbers of providers –completely missing the point that individualised services are not as effective as family-based services.

“In official policy documents, ‘Whanau Ora’ or family well-being is the kaupapa for Maori health, but in practice the Associate Minister is fixated on individualised services. No wonder health disparities are so deeply entrenched,” said Mrs Turia.

“Drug and alcohol abuse is a classic example of a health issue that affects whole whanau, not just the individual. Drugs and alcohol corrode family relationships, they blow family budgets, and they often lead to family violence or crime.

“Kaupapa whanau programmes encourage the whole whanau to take collective responsibility and collective action. Whanau are able to manage treatment and support. A strong and united whanau can stick with a programme to the end.

“This understanding of whanau ora is the key to success of Maori health providers right across the country. So it is a great concern to Maori communities that there is only one kaupapa whanau drug and alcohol programme in Aotearoa.

“Clearly the statements in the National Drug Policy, that drug problems on Maori communities may be addressed more effectively when targeted approaches are developed by and for Maori, are empty rhetoric, if the Associate Minister does not understand the importance of kaupapa whanau, and fails to demonstrate his support for that approach,” said Mrs Turia.


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