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Budget holding is the way to go

Budget holding is the way to go

John Tamihere has taken a swipe at his former Labour colleagues over their handling of welfare.

The former cabinet minister was speaking on Eye to Eye with Willie Jackson on TV ONE this morning. In the wake of the Kahui twins case, the programme was discussing the high incidence of child abuse in Maori families and looking at possible solutions.

Tamihere, now the CEO of the National Maori Urban Authority and the Waipareira Trust, said welfare benefits should be paid to Maori social service agencies which would control how beneficiaries spent the money.

He said he pushed for such a scheme when he was in Parliament, but with no success. Tamihere then hit out at his former colleagues saying: “The welfare-ism as practiced by Maharey and company is killing us. And we have to stay that, and we have to stop it. And we have to stop the nonsense in terms of the way welfare is handed out.”

He said he had situations in his own family where this would be helpful.

“If my nephews, my nieces and two of my brothers watching this programme now, if I could control their dole, my nephews and nieces would be good. I would ensure they were fed, they were housed, they were clothed. And once they’ve got a strong base all the other interventions, whether it’s Parents as First Teachers, Family Start, Parenting Programming… once you’ve got a strong base you can then start to deal with a range of problems.”

Tamihere, who also now works as a talkback host on Radio Live, has been vocal about the Kahui case over the past fortnight. His suggestions for a way forward on child abuse were positively received by his fellow panellists on Eye To Eye, Merepeka Raukawa-Tait, Dr Ian Hassall, and Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia.

Turia said: Right back in the early 80s… budget holding was definitely what the people called for. We’ve been very concerned for years about our people being on benefits as such, because we can see that it’s killed their spirit, it’s killed their soul. When you’ve got poverty of spirit how can people think about transforming their lives. And so they started to do it in health, you know, where they were prepared to give out budget holding – the government changed and we got back into this whole thing – that the budget holding then moved into the hands of others, PHOs.


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