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Minister Bennett’s New Social Impact Board Is Ignorant

Monday, 17 October, 2016 – 17:21

Minister Bennett’s New Social Impact Board Is Ignorant

Manukau Urban Māori Authority (MUMA), Whānau Ora Services’ Manager, Veronica Henare is accusing a newly established South Auckland Social Investment Board of ignorance and paying lip service to communities in need.

Min Bennett this week announced the formation of the South Auckland Social Investment Board (SIB) which will initially focus on 1480 at-risk 0-to-5 year-old children and their families in Māngere, to get better outcomes for them. She says $60million could be saved by improving outcomes for just 10-percent of at risk children.

But Ms Henare says, all the Minister needs to do is ask groups already working with whānau in Māngere including MUMA Whānau Ora at Ngā Whare Waatea Marae.

“With support from Te Pou Matakana and Te Puni Kokiri, whānau themselves design programmes that meet their needs they also manage practical measurable outcomes that suit them at any given time.” Says Ms Henare MUMA Whānau Ora works with over 800 whānau members in Māngere and across South Auckland and see’s first-hand the cost of poor outcomes delivered by Government Agencies.

“If the Minister wants to know what’s wrong, we’ve got 800 whānau happy to tell her. But the reality is, these whānau have disconnected from Government Agencies and the extraordinary level of poverty and homelessness proves this.” Says Ms Henare.

Minister Bennett’s new SIB will use a social investment approach to put at-risk children and their families at the heart of service provision. But again Ms Henare says the Minister is slow off the mark.

“We’re already implementing strategies targeting children experiencing physical harm, including referrals to a range of educational learning centres, and we work closely with a range of primary health organisations to ensure easy access to medical care.” “Our work doesn’t end there we’re also about empowerment, job placement, housing referrals, we even provide food parcels through our Marae Foodbank”.

“SIB totally ignores the great mahi being done on ground day in day out by Whānau Ora and other NGO’s” says Ms Henare.

“If the SIB is about internal auditing of Government Agencies in an effort to perform more effectively and serve community better, then that’s great.” “But when the Minister says social investment but doesn’t refer to community driven solutions or sustainable outcomes based on whānau realities, it triggers alarm bells as nothing more than a PR exercise.” Says Ms Henare.

The initial member agencies of the SIB are Ministry of Social Development, Ministry of Health, Counties Manukau District Health Board, Ministry of Education, New Zealand Police, Te Puni Kōkiri, Ministry for Pacific Peoples, Department of Corrections, Ministry of Justice and Housing New Zealand Corporation. The Ministry for Vulnerable Children, Oranga Tamariki, will join the board when established. The board will be headed by independent chairwoman, Sandra Alofivae, a South Auckland lawyer and community leader.

END

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