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Cutting Maori jobs is no way to fund Whanau Ora

PSA Media Release

Nov 22, 2011

Cutting public service Maori jobs is no way to fund Whanau Ora

The Government says Whanau Ora will provide “services and opportunities to empower Whanau”, but is the Government actually taking services away from whanau while at the same time appearing to provide for their needs?

Information obtained by the PSA from the Ministry of Education under the Official Information Act raises this troubling question.

“We requested this information after five PSA members at the Ministry were told they would be made redundant and funding for a Maori education programme they had developed was transferred to Whanau Ora,” says PSA National Secretary Brenda Pilott.

“The programme, Atawhaingia Te Pa Harakeke, focuses on child development and early learning within a whanau context.

“Documents signed by the Minister of Education reveal that while she originally recommended the programme and staff be transferred to Whanau Ora along with the funding, but when the final decision was made she agreed to transfer the funding on its own and simply “offer” the programme framework to Whanau Ora.

“This decision demands explanation as it risks wasting the public funds put into developing the programme as well as losing highly skilled staff from the public service whose expertise is integral to the success of this programme.

“The PSA has sought an urgent meeting with the Minister of Education to discuss this matter, but she has rejected this request.

“If the Government is committed to whanau-focused programmes why is it disestablishing frontline Maori public service jobs and risking the future of a proven whanau-focused education programme?” says PSA National Secretary Brenda Pilott.


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