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Govt Needs To Release Whanau Ora Taskforce Report

Govt Needs To Release Whanau Ora Taskforce Report

“The government should release the report of the Whanau Ora taskforce and open up this major initiative involving millions of taxpayers dollars to full public consultation,” says PSA national secretary Brenda Pilott.

The taskforce report was handed to the government yesterday but the government is refusing to make it public it for another two weeks.

“That’s not acceptable as there are significant questions to be answered about whether the programme is affordable, accountable and capable of delivering improvements in the delivery of social services.”

“Currently the only basis for debate are newspaper reports on what the taskforce is recommending which is not the way to formulate sound policy in such an important area,” says Brenda Pilott.

The NZ Herald says the taskforce recommends establishing an independent Whanau Ora Trust to manage the programme. The trust would report to a specific Whanau Ora minister and get public money to deliver the programme, including managing contracts with private sector providers.

It’s reported the trust would set up a layer of "regional panels" to monitor the success of Whanau Ora. This would involve putting private social service providers on "streamlined high-trust" contracts and appointing "service brokers" to deal directly with families to identify their needs.

“If this is what the taskforce is recommending, the proposals raise some serious questions,” says Brenda Pilott.

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“Why establish a new organisation to allocate funding to private social service providers when the Ministry of Social Development already has the skills and experience to do this at little or no extra cost.”

“What will be the impact of Whanau Ora on the delivery of social services by government agencies?”

“Will funding be diverted from Child Youth and Family and directed to private social service providers.”

“It would be disastrous if the cost of running Whanau Ora meant a cut in funding for core social services that only Child Youth and Family can provide such as protecting at risk children.”

“We’re concerned the government is going to create a new layer of administration to run Whanau Ora and pay for it with money currently being used to deliver social services,” says Brenda Pilott.

The Prime Minister said at the opening of Parliament on Tuesday (February 9) that: “New Zealanders want to know that the tax they pay is being spent as wisely as possible.”

“The Prime Minister is saying we need to be careful in spending our taxes while planning a programme that gives millions of tax dollars to private social service providers on ‘high-trust contracts’,” says Brenda Pilott.

“What’s going on here? There’s a clear contradiction between the Prime Minister’s words and the government’s actions.”

“Whanau Ora raises a lot of questions. The public deserve to be consulted on such a major initiative and taxpayers deserve some answers from the government before they have to foot the bill,” says Brenda Pilott.


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